He was a former member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Lorain, where he attended elementary school. He was a 1979 graduate of Lorain High School. Leonard entered the United States Air Force in 1981. While in the service he graduated from the NCO prep course in 1985, the NCO academy in 1990 and the Senior NCO academy in 2003. He made a lifetime career in the service for 26 years, reaching the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) until his retirement and disability in 2007. While in the service he was stationed at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Kunsan AFB in Korea, McDill AFB in Tampa, Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. He worked on the F-117 Stealth Fighter jet program as well as the F-16 and T-38 fighter jet programs. One of his greatest moments was when he won a flight in the F-16 fighter jet at Nellis.
He received numerous awards in the service with one reading the following: SMSgt Leonard Kopa distinguished himself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States. His efforts directly aided the 355th Wing in sustaining the commands highest flight hour program. The singularly distinctive accomplishment of SMSgt Kopa reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force. His medals included Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, AF Achievement Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award, AF Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Korean Medal.
One of Leonard’s greatest passion was the love for his children, he was a talented artist, an avid Cleveland Browns Fan, he had a thirst for knowledge and as described by his daughter, was a student till the end. He loved to study astronomy and document his findings and he loved music.
He will be dearly missed by his son, Christopher of Houston, Texas; daughter, Dawn of Houston, Texas; son, Ryan, who Len was raising as a single father; his first wife and lifetime friend, Donna (nee Thomas) Kopa; brothers, Larry (Theresa) Kopa of Dayton, Ron of Elk Grove, California, Fred (Teresa) Kopa of Lorain; sisters, Ellie (Jack) Betka of Lorain and Peggie (Dr. James) Cohen of Westlake; eight nephews, five nieces and four great nieces and one great nephew, several aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Anthony and Viola (nee Greene) Kopa; grandparents, Stanley and Nora (nee Bomba) Kopa and Jacob and Ellen (nee Misavage) Greene.
Family will receive friends Saturday, June 28, 2014 from 9 A.M. until time of memorial service at 11 A.M. in the Dovin Funeral Home, 2701 Elyria Avenue, Lorain. Entombment will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Full military honors will be conducted at the cemetery.
To send online condolences go to www.dovinfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Lenny’s memory, may be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675