Published: January 30, 2001
WILMINGTON, DEL. – Pamela Cunningham Copeland, widow of Lammot duPont Copeland, former Chairman and CEO of E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., died Thursday, January 25 after a brief illness. She was 94.
Mrs Copeland, who was born in Litchfield, Conn. in 1906, met Lammot duPont Copeland in 1929 during her studies of music and literature in Paris. After marrying in 1930, the Copelands lived in Bridgeport, Conn. until 1935, when they returned to Wilmington.
Mrs Copeland her husband created Mount Cuba, a neo-Georgian house built in 1937 near Wilmington, Del., which contained a noted collection of Eighteenth Century American furniture and paneling. In her efforts to create gardens containing plants native to the Piedmont region, Mrs Copeland inspired the foundation of the Mount Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora. Her other land conservation efforts included the Red Clay Reservation.
Mrs Copeland was a distinguished collector of American furniture and Chinese export porcelain. During her life, she donated a significant portion of her porcelain collection to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
Mrs Copeland received honorary degrees from Washington College, Chestertown, Md., and the University of Delaware. Her many awards include the Achievement Award Medal of the Garden Club of America, the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Edith Wharton Women of Achievement Award for Garden Design.
A charter member of the Board of Trustees of the Winterthur Museum and Gardens, Mrs Copeland was First Regent of Gunston Hall Plantation from 1951 to 1960 and a trustee of the National Trust for Historical Preservation from 1958 to 1967. She was awarded with the National Trust’s President’s Award in 2000. Mrs Copeland was also an honorary trustee of Historic Deerfield and an advisory trustee of the Peabody Essex Museum.
She served on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House from 1970 to 1977; the White House Preservation Fund from 1984 to 1990; the Council of the American Association of Museums from 1955 to 64; and the Historical Society of Delaware. Mrs Copeland co-authored The Five George Masons: Patriots and Planters of Virginia and Maryland in 1975 (University of Virginia Press). Also in 1975, she was honored as Collector of the Year by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
She was an honorary trustee and served on the Decorative Arts Award Committee of the Henry Francis du Pont Award Committee, which she received in 1986. Other committee work at the museum included the Fellowship Committee, the Museum Committee and the Odessa Propertioes Committee.
Survivors include two sons, Lammot duPont Copeland, Jr. and Gerret vanS. Copeland; daughter Louisa C. Duemling; ten grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Services were held Tuesday, January 30. Donations may be made to Winterthur Gardens, Route 52, Winterthur, Del. 19735; Gunston Hall, 10709 Gunston Road, Mason Neck, Va. 22079 or Delaware Nature Society, PO Box 700, Hockessin, Del. 19707.
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