1949 - Nov. 20, 2005
Today we are proud to honor Linn Copeland with induction into the IGRA Hall of Fame. A legend in Kansas, Linn's contributions to the GLBT Community span more than 30 years. She was involved when the Metropolitan Community Church was formed in Wichita. She provided care and support for HIV/AIDS patients when it was not available. She organized and supported Gay Pride celebrations. It only stands to reason that Linn would lead the way for the Kansas Gay Rodeo Association. She realized it was a great way for the community to come together in an environment that was safe and a whole lot of fun and it provided an avenue for Linn's love of rodeo and the country western lifestyle.
As a founding member of KGRA, Linn was instrumental in getting the organization up and running and Kansas was seated at the second IGRA convention in 1986, along with Missouri and New Mexico. IGRA was expanding rapidly and Linn became the first woman President in 1989. With her enthusiasm and calm demeanor, Linn could convince you that anything is possible and she had a profound influence on KGRA producing rodeos. Working cooperatively, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri first produced the Great Plains Regional Rodeo in Okalahoma City and then each Association began producing their own rodeos. She knew how much work it was and understood the importance of volunteers. For more than ten years, Linn was part of the KGRA Arena Crew. This team not only made a two-day commitment to hard work at many rodeos, they provided a list of supplies needed and helped organize and train volunteers for other associations.
Linn believes that rodeo is good thing and can serve as a mechanism to raise money for chartable organizations that benefit our community. She put "Fun" in the word fundraising. Many of us recall her delightful rendition of "A Dog Named Blue" and she was not averse to getting gussied-up to perform a number with a former IGRA President. When it came to ideas for fundraising, she was a willing listener and supporter, and the KGRA Cake Walk is a tradition you wouldn't want to miss.
Linn was pleased and humbled to learn that she was a recipient of this award and although Linn is not here today, it is an honor to present this award in recognition of her many contributions to IGRA to John Stangle, the Kansas Trustee. Lynn passed away on November 20, 2005.
Linn Copeland, 56, of Derby, KS a grand lady with class and style, and who made Wichita fun for generations of Gays and Lesbians with the Our Fantasy complex passed Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. She is preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Copeland. She is survived by her two older sisters, Margerita Lager and Sherry Brown; 6 nieces and nephews and many great nieces and nephews, all who loved and admired their Aunt Linn.
Linn owned and operated Our Fantasy Club for 24 years. Linn was a very talented artist and has her sculptures on display at City Arts and Center for the Arts, as well as galleries in Tubac, Ariz. and Norman, Okla. I, personally, having many friends and readers in the Wichita area over the years have always enjoyed Lynn's bar, and the hospitality shown there by her and her staff, especially the one and only Fritz C. John C. of Norman, OK , and who formerly was Miss Gay Kansas America as Dorian Munroe said this about Ms. Copeland. "Linn was a great lady and very ahead of her time. She was an architect in Kansas and bought 'Our Fantasy' at a time when women, especially gay women, really did not do things like that. The club is the oldest 'gay' bar in this region.
Linn had been suffering from cancer for awhile. She sponsored numerous annual events that really brought the gay community together in Wichita. The infamous annual 'canoe' trip, which ended in her back yard ,down the Arkansas River was always a fun drunkfest. She also would have shrimp cook-outs and lots of Fritz inspired parties. She left Fritz the nightclub so that he could carry on the tradition. She will be greatly missed. Linn always possessed a heart-felt compassion for the Aids research being done and hoped for the day they would find a cure. A memorial fund in her name has been established at Positive Directions, 154 N. Emporia, Wichita, KS 67202.
Our thoughts and prayers with Linn's family, friends and the Wichita Gay Community. Thanks, Linn and rest in peace.