Dr. Daniel John Kopetzky, 61, of Bowie, MD, formerly of Falls City, passed away Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 in Charlotte after a valiant 28-month battle with a brain tumor.He was born on Sept. 29, 1953 in Pawnee City to Bernice (Marfice) Kopetzky and the late William Kopetzky.
Dan will be remembered for his intelligence, dedication, and unwavering happiness.
He grew up in Falls City, the eldest of the five Kopetzky brothers, and attended Sacred Heart High School, where he showed early signs of his scientific interests and light-heartedness during several memorable science lab experiments. He also showed his dedication by setting the family standard of attaining Eagle Scout before leaving town after graduation in 1971 to pursue a degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Adept in many scientific pursuits, Dan completed an Electrical Engineering degree in three and a half years and graduated with highest honors in 1975. He remained dedicated to furthering his education; and, after a semester working in Chicago while taking Electrical Engineering graduate courses, he returned full-time to Notre Dame to finish his Electrical Engineering Masters degree in 1976. His Masters dissertation was titled “An Application of Microprocessors to the Interfacing of Peripheral Devices in Multiprocessor Computing Systems.”
The year 1976 was also when he was introduced to a Notre Dame student, Bridget McCoy, whom he would marry in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame on Aug. 5, 1978.
As Dan was a voracious learner, he continued his formal studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a Doctorate in Computer Science in 1980 and wrote his doctoral thesis, “An Array Simulator Generator.”
Dan and Bridget established their home in Champaign, and Dan began supercomputer research at Digital Technology/Gould in 1980. Their first son, Brian was born in 1982. In 1986, Dan accepted a research position at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in the newly formed Supercomputing Research Center (SRC). This led to a move to Bowie, shortly before their second son, Brandon, was born. His work with IDA continued as SRC transitioned to its current form as the Center for Computing Sciences (CCS).
Though almost all of his work was classified, Dan co-authored two technical books early in his career and contributed to multiple other published texts. He remained dedicated to his work at CCS, until his illness forced him to retire in 2014.
When not at work, Dan loved traveling with family, especially to Hawaii and to Ireland. His hobbies included learning computer programming languages, listening and playing music, macro nature photography, watching Notre Dame football, amateur ham radio (call sign: KD3CW), collecting dragons, and adventuring with his grandkids, nieces and nephews.
He is survived by his mother, Bernice, of Falls City; wife of 36 years, Bridget; their two sons, Brian (Valerie) and Brandon (Stephanie), both of Charlotte; brothers Greg (Veronica), of Longmont, CO, Jon (Linda), of Tenino, WA, and David (Deneise), of Tacoma, WA; grandchildren, Brian and Valerie’s Anya, Cora, and Quinn; Brandon and Stephanie’s Stephen. Dan will also be missed by his in-laws, Bob and Millie McCoy, of Charlottesville, VA, Bob (Laurel), of Maplewood, NJ, Mike (Eliza), of Hong Kong, China, Cathleen (Nick), of Millwood, VA, and Dan (Geri), of Waxhaw, NC.
A Parish Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Falls City. The family will receive friends following the rosary.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, with Msgr. Robert A. Roh as the presiding priest. Interment will be in the Falls City Catholic Cemetery near his father, Bill, and his younger brother, Steve, who both preceded him in death.
The family suggests any memorial contributions go to The Robert Preston Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710 or Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster (donatehospice.org and specify Levine and Dickson Hospice House at Southminster.)
Dorr & Clark Funeral Home, of Falls City, is in charge of arrangements.