Long time Pearlander and Philanthropist, Frances Coppinger Philpott, 80, passed away August 30, 2018, in Pearland, Texas, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Fran was an amazing and generous woman who gave much to her community and family. She was an accomplished leader, visionary and philanthropist who worked over the years in local, regional, state, political and educational arenas.
Fran grew up in Bishop and lived most of her life in Texas. She married David Breedlove early in life and they had a daughter, Celeste. Several years after their divorce, she married Vic Coppinger in 1970 and moved to Pearland. She immediately became involved with the community and in 1978 became the first woman to serve on the Pearland City Council. She went on to found Clean Pearland, now called Keep Pearland Beautiful, and served a term as its president. Under her leadership and continued involvement on the Board, Keep Pearland Beautiful received multiple awards at the regional and state levels. She also served as president and board member for the Keep Brazoria County Beautiful Association, and she received their “W.D. Colgrove Award”. Fran founded the Pearland Neighborhood Center, which still continues to fill the multiple needs of residents in northern Brazoria County. Fran also assisted in the drive to bring the YMCA to Pearland. They worked tirelessly for years to fund the project and co-donated 16 acres of land for the Coppinger Family YMCA, and she served on the Executive Board. In between all of her activities Fran loved bird watching and went on multiple bird watching vacations.
Fran helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the United Way of Brazoria County as well as serving on the Budget Committee, the Board of Directors and as Zone Chairman. She received their “Outstanding Volunteer Award”. She also received the Pearland Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Citizen of the Year Award” in 1984. Around the same time in her life Fran was appointed to serve on the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council for the state of Texas. She served on this council for many years, and in 1991, she was appointed president. Fran also served as president on the Brazoria County Solid Waste Management Task Force, and served as Vice-President on the Houston Galveston Area Council of Government, Solid Waste Management Task Force. In 1991, Fran was appointed to serve on the Texas Ethics Commission.
Fran worked on beautification on the state level as well. She was a district governor for the Beautify Texas Council and was a member of the task force to form Keep Texas Beautiful and served on that organization’s advisory council for a number of years. In 1997, she was elected president of Keep Texas Beautiful and thoroughly enjoyed her tenure as president. Through Fran’s membership in the Rotary Club of Pearland she worked to create safe living conditions in Mexico. Fran was also a co-founder of the Rotary International Friendship Exchange with Osaka, Japan. She was granted the “Rotarian of the Year” award from the Rotary Club of Pearland. Fran was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Pearland and served doing everything from teaching Sunday school to going on multiple mission trips.
Fran achieved a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, a Masters of Arts in Public Management, and did a Doctoral Study in Political Science in all but the dissertation. Her PhD areas of study were American Government, Public Policy and Implementation. Later in life, Fran was a professor at San Jacinto Community College South, which brought her much joy.
In 2006, Fran received one of her most meaningful awards. The Community Foundation of Brazoria County awarded Fran their “Philanthropist of the Year” award. Then State Representative Glenda Dawson introduced Fran at the awards ceremony with the words: “Fran … has touched lives around the world — from Brazoria County to Japan. As a true philanthropist, Fran focuses her energy to make her world a better place to live.”
Fran is survived by her husband Richard Philpott, her daughter Celeste Carlton and her husband David, her brother Thomas Donalson and his wife Eva, her sister Barbara Althaus, and her grandchildren Justin and Michelle Carlton. Visitation will be September 7 at South Park Funeral Home in Pearland from 5-7 pm. Services will be at First United Methodist Church of Pearland September 8 at 10:00 am. The Graveside service will be at South Park Cemetery at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (www.alzinfo.org) or the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).