The majestic forests of Northern Michigan, the exotic appeal of lands far away, the crisp and invigorating air of an early autumn day – for Jeorgi Tamel, the world was a wonderful place, filled with beauty and adventure. She loved to share her joy in the world with others, especially her beloved children and grandchildren. Kind-hearted and giving, Jeorgi brightened and enlivened the lives all those who had the privilege of knowing her.
On October 11, 1941, Joseph and Eileen (Gasman) Coplan welcomed their first child into the world: a beautiful baby girl, whom they named Georgiana Lillian. Georgiana, or Jeorgi as she came to be called, wasn’t an only child for long – she soon had younger siblings Harold, Richard, and Lynn to keep her company. The Coplan family lived in Escanaba, Michigan, where Joseph co-owned a scrap metal company. Growing up in Northern Michigan, by an early age Jeorgi had developed an appreciation for the great outdoors. She loved participating in the Campfire Girls, Jobs Daughters, and summer camp at Wells State Park.
As the years went by and Jeorgi grew into a young woman, she displayed both musical and organizational aptitude. She played the flute in the Escanaba High School marching band, and was nominated to be the senior class secretary. In her free time, Jeorgi enjoyed skiing, both locally and at the Gladstone Ski Hill. After graduating from high school, Jeorgi went on to Michigan State University, where she earned a bachelor of the arts in Education.
Fresh out of college, Jeorgi found a job as a first grade teacher at Milwaukee Public Schools. She celebrated the start of her career with the purchase of a baby-blue Cutlass convertible, and her Scottish terrier, MacDougal, always rode shotgun. On June 23, 1967, she married Frank J. Tamel III, in Waukegan, Illinois.
After her wedding, Jeorgi left her position as a teacher in order to help out in Frank’s business and focus on being a mother. Although they would eventually divorce, Jeorgi and Frank’s marriage was blessed with four children: Matthew, Jennifer, Rebecca, and Melissa. Jeorgi was a wonderful mother, whose big heart embraced not only her own children, but eight foster children as well. Strong-minded and resourceful herself, Jeorgi raised her children to be independent in thought and action.
Exuberant and creative, Jeorgi always looked for fun ways to share the joys of nature with her children. She felt a special connection to the autumn season, and her children have fond memories of collecting richly-hued leaves and smooth hickory nuts from Muskego Park. Jeorgi made her own applesauce around this time of year, and the whole family looked forward to her delicious homemade apple crisp. The Christmas season was another favorite, filled with treasured family traditions. Each year, Jeorgi and her children would make ornaments, string together popcorn and cranberries for the tree, and bake lots and lots of cookies. The Christmas tree was always a live tree, which they looked forward to picking out themselves.
Jeorgi was very-community minded, firmly believing that we have ability to change the world around us in a positive way. Some of the organizations she donated her time to included the Hales Corners Library Board, the Hales Corners Historical Society, and the Whitnall School District Parent Advisory Board. At home, Jeorgi enjoyed reading and crafting. Her creations included quilts, embroidery, and knitted garments. She loved to enter sweepstakes, and was quite lucky – once she even won a trip for four to Orlando, Florida! She was curious about the world around her, and was able to travel to every continent except Antarctica.
Recently, Jeorgi faced a number of medical challenges. For the past five years, she was a resident of Hartford Healthcare Center.
Kind, creative, and independent, Jeorgi was a loving mother and grandmother, a committed activist, an avid reader, and a loyal friend. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many friends and family members.
Georgiana Lillian Tamel died on August 15, 2012, at the age of seventy. She was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Eileen Coplan. Her family includes her children, Matthew Tamel, Jennifer (Adam) Lasik, Rebecca (John) Kettler and Melissa (Jeff) Leamy; her grandchildren, Brittany, Sarah, Aislynn and Chase; her siblings, Harold (Stella) Coplan, Richard (Lois) Coplan and Lynn (Joseph Horak) Coplan of Wausau, WI; and other relatives.
Visitation will be held on Monday, August 20, at Suminski LifeStory Funeral Home, 1901 N. Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202, from 3 p.m. until time of the funeral service at 4 p.m. Private entombment will be at Wisconsin Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of the Hales Corners Library, 5885 S. 116th Street Hales Corners, WI 53130. Please visit Jeorgi’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can learn more about her life, share a favorite memory or photo, and sign the online guestbook.