Alabama pastor, mayor who took his own life after trans persona outed to be remembered by family and friends this week

Published 2:13 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Family and friends of an Alabama pastor and mayor who took his own life last week, just days after reports of his transexual online persona surfaced will celebrate the man’s life this week.

Funeral arrangements for F.L. “Bubba” Copeland,  the late Smiths Station, Alabama, and senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Phenix City, Alabama, have been announced.

Although widely known for many years to locals in and around Copeland’s hometown, his name was thrust into state headlines a week ago when rightwing media reports publicized Copeland’s apparent online persona as a cross-dresser, including a number of erotic online posts.

Copeland addressed the stories at his church’s Wednesday night prayer meeting, then two days later took his own life in front of law enforcement officers, who were called to check on his well-being.

Here is Copeland’s full obituary:

Mr. F. L. “Bubba” Copeland, Jr., 49, of Smiths Station, AL passed away on Friday, November 3, 2023.  

The family will receive friends on the evening of Wednesday, November 8, 2023 from 4:30 pm until 8:00 pm at Vance Brooks Funeral Home in Phenix City, AL. A funeral service will be held at 3:00 pm EST on Thursday, November 9, 2023 at First Baptist Church in Phenix City, AL with Rev. Dr. Ralph Wooten officiating. A private interment will follow.

Bubba was born May 27, 1974, in Columbus, GA son of Fred L. Copeland, Sr. and Cora Annell Flowers Green.  Bubba owned and operated the Country Market in Salem, AL. Additionally, he was Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Phenix City, AL, where he attended and worshipped for more than three decades.

Bubba’s first foray into politics was when he successfully ran for the Lee County School Board’s District 5 seat, a position he held over the course of two terms from 2008-2016.

In 2016, Bubba was elected as Mayor of his beloved hometown and City of Smiths Station, AL. During his tenure as Mayor, he helped guide the City through a period of tremendous growth and development, and earn its place as one of the fastest growing Cities in the State of Alabama.

But above all, beyond serving his church, city, and community, Bubba loved spending time with his family and serving his community. 

He is survived by his loving wife Angela Simpson Copeland of Smiths Station, AL; his mother, Cora Annell Flowers Green and husband Hershal of Phenix City, AL; his father, Fred L. Copeland Sr. and wife Cheryl of Valley, AL; a son, Carter L. Copeland of Smiths Station, AL; two daughters, AbbyKate Elizabeth Dawson and Ally Catherine Dawson, both of Smiths Station, AL; three sisters, Kimberlee Copeland Funk and husband Stephen of Smiths Station, AL, Terri Register and husband Noel of Fountain, FL and Ginger Green of Smiths Station, AL; two brothers, Mike Green and wife Mardelle of Smiths Station, AL and Bill Green and wife Brandy of Waverly Hall, GA; Precious In-laws Tim and Pam Simpson of Hatchechubbee, AL  one Brother In Law Jonathan Simpson wife Bridgette of Hatchechubbee, AL two nieces Brinklee Cope Funk and Everly Blake Simpson one Nephew Ezekiel Ray Simpson and a cousin Jason Flowers, as well as many extended family, church family and extremely close friends. 

Pall bearers are: Jason Flowers, Jeff Smith, Ed Adams, Jonathan Simpson, Stephen Funk and Allen Belcher. 

Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to First Baptist Church, 2608 Summerville Road, Phenix City, AL 36867 or PAWS at .

To leave condolences online, visit