Mrs. Harold Coppock

nee Doris Leesley


Yester Year Stories, Backed with Today's Research


LeMars Globe-Post
December 17, 1936

Mrs. Coppock Dead of Gas
Has Been Missing Since Yesterday Afternoon

The body of Mrs. Harold Coppock, 33, was found in the basement of the First
Baptist Church about 5 o'clock this afternoon by Rev. S.A. Jones, pastor of
the church.

Gas was escaping from a stove used by church members for cooking various
social affairs. Apparently Mrs. Coppock had turned on the gas and inhaled

Rev. Jones had gone to the basement when he learned that Mrs. Coppock was
missing. He remembered that she had asked him yesterday afternoon for the
key to the church.

The request did not strike him as unusual at the time as Mrs. Coppock acted
as church musician at times, and he assumed she intended to get something
that she had left there.

Rev. Jones opened the doors and windows to air out the church and notified

The death of Mrs. Coppock orphans three small children.

The first intimation of trouble came yesterday afternoon when Mr. Coppock
asked police to help look for this wife as he feared she might have
committed suicide. He said she had left home and he was unable to trace her

Police in Sioux City were also notified to be on the lookout for Mrs.

Mrs. Coppock had been in poor health and had hinted at self-destruction.

She was suffering from a painful stomach ailment and arrangements had been
made to take her to Iowa City for observation at the state university

No inquest will be held, it is believed, in view of the circumstances of
Mrs. Coppock's death.

The body will be taken to Luken's mortuary.

When the body was found it was lying on the floor beside the gas stove.
Apparently Mrs. Coppock had sat down on the chair and turned on the gas,
inhaling from the unlighted burner. When she became unconscious she fell to
the floor and remained there.

A note, pathetically asking for forgiveness for the act she was about to do,
was found near the body.

An ironic circumstance is that the police nearly discovered the suicide last
night. In a search for Mrs. Coppock they visited the church, but found the
door locked and assumed that she had been there, locked up and left.

LeMars Sentinel
Friday, Dec. 18, 1936

Mrs. Harold Coppock Found Dead In Basement Of Baptist Church
Victim of Ill Health
Had Been Suffering From Melancholia For Some Time

The lifeless body of Mrs. Harold Coppock, 30, was found late Thursday
afternoon in the basement of the First Baptist Church. Gas jets from a
stove were turned on. Missing since Wednesday afternoon, police and others
instituted a search for the woman Wednesday night and Thursday.

According to police authorities Mrs. Coppock had been suffering from mental
aberration and was to be taken to the university hospital at Iowa City for
observation Wednesday evening. Disinclination to make the trip is ascribed
as one of the reasons for her disappearance.

Mrs. Coppock, according to police authorities, made two attempts within
recent months to destroy herself.

Musically inclined she was in the habit of practicing on the piano in the
Baptist church basement. She borrowed the key Wednesday afternoon from the
parsonage later returning it to the house.


Apparently when she returned the key, she did not fasten the safety latch
and went back to the church and locked herself in the basement.

The odor of escaping gas in the vicinity of the church attracted the
attention of the pastor, Rev. S. A. Jones, and he with others investigated.
The body was found on the floor lying in front of the stove. The woman left
a note asking forgiveness for her act.

Coroner S. H. Luken took charge of the remains. No inquest will be held.

Mrs. Coppock leaves her husband, Harold Coppock, and three small children.

LeMars Globe-Post
Dec. 21, 1936

Death Note Asks Forgiveness Of Survivors

Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from Luken's funeral
home for Mrs. Harold Coppock, who died of asphyxia, late Thursday afternoon.
The lifeless body was found in the basement of the Baptist church, by Rev.
S. A. Jones, the pastor, who detected a strong odor of gas.

Burial was made in the LeMars City cemetery, Rev. S.A. Jones conducting the

Mrs. Coppock went to the home of Rev. Jones last Wednesday and asked for the
key to the church basement. As she was the church pianist, Rev. Jones
thought nothing about giving her the key, as she often practiced there.

When she failed to come home that evening, the husband notified police to
help find her. Mrs. Coppock was suffering with a stomach disorder and was
going to be taken to Iowa City for treatment.

She left the following note:

"Forgive me, Marguerite-Harold, forgive me Daddy. I cannot help it and
forgive me, Jerry and Donna and baby. I'll love you forever and don't forget
your mother. Everyone forgive me; my mother, father and everyone. Oh, God
in Heaven forgive me. I have been so ill and I cannot fight any longer."

Doris Leesley was born on July 4, 1908, at Moville, Ia. She was the
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Leesley of Redding, Cal.

She is survived by her husband, Harold Coppock; one son, Jerry; two
daughters, Caroline and Donna; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Leesley;
three sisters, Mrs. Leonard Jackson, Omaha, Mrs. Cyril Wiltgen, LeMars,
Audrey, Redding, Al.; and one brother, John, of Redding.

LeMars Sentinel
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1936

Last Tribute Paid To Unfortunate Young Woman By Many Friends

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at the Luken Mortuary chapel for
Mrs. Harold Coppock, who was found dead Thursday afternoon from asphyxiation
in the basement of the First Baptist Church.

The services were conducted by Rev. S.A. Jones, pastor of the First Baptist
Church, and interment made in the city cemetery.

Doris Coppock was born July 4, 1908, at Moville, Iowa, and was a daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Leesley, of that place. They recently moved to
Redding, Calif.

Mrs. Coppock leaves to mourn her untimely fate besides her parents, her
husband, Harold Coppock; a son, Jerry and two daughters, Caroline and Donna;
three sisters and a brother, Mrs. Leonard Jackson, of Omaha, Neb.; Mrs.
Cyril Wiltgen, of LeMars; Audrey and John Leesley, of Redding, Calif.