Retired Indiana University Northwest professor Garrett Cope had the ability to "maneuver and direct large groups of people," wife Barbara said.
Cope, a former chairman of IUN’s Theatre Department, created some of the most outstanding productions in Northwest Indiana and could organize 100 people onstage for a musical theater number in a short time, she said.
“He didn’t plot it out on paper; he did it as he was watching it onstage,” Barbara Cope said. “He never screamed or hollered. Everyone just loved Garrett because he never got angry.”
With master’s degrees in theater and education from Indiana University in Bloomington, Cope, 84, of Gary, first taught speech and drama at Carver Elementary School.
Cope was in line for a job at Roosevelt High School, his wife said, but “he fell so in love working with those young children and getting them to express themselves that he turned it down.”
Barbara Cope was introduced to her future husband by fellow teacher Anne Thompson. When putting on “Hansel and Gretel,” she asked Cope to help with the set.
“In one afternoon, I had a forest, an oven, a house for Hansel and Gretel, and trees, all made from butcher paper and poster paint,” Barbara Cope said. “He was so talented and could do so much with so little.”
The Copes married in 1956 and raised two sons.
As a child, Cope was often the star of dance reviews at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House. His college thesis, which was published, was on the history of theater at Indiana University. Through his Enrichment Series, Cope organized bus trips to professional plays in Chicago.
Barbara Cope said she will miss her husband’s sincerity, reliability and thoughtfulness.