HUNTSVILLE — A proposal that will be considered by Scott County Commission later this month would rename the second floor of the old county courthouse in memory of Verda “Buddy” Cope Jr., the former county official who died earlier this year.
County Commission’s Building & Grounds Committee on Monday forwarded to the full commission a resolution to name the upstairs of the courthouse in Cope’s honor.
Fifth District Commissioner Paul Strunk presented the resolution at Monday’s meeting, saying that he had authored the resolution on behalf of 2nd District commissioners Sam Lyles and June Jeffers, who represent Cope’s lifelong hometown of Robbins.
“I thought it would be fitting that it have his name on it,” Strunk said of the second story, which will soon be occupied by the Scott County Historical Society. “He served this county 16 years as county judge-executive and another two years as circuit court clerk.”
Cope, a genial public figure who was well-respected as the county’s chief executive officer, was first elected in 1966. He served in that capacity for the next 16 years, before being defeated by Dwight Murphy in the 1982 election.
More than two decades later, Cope returned to government when he was appointed by County Commission to fill the unexpired term of Circuit Court Clerk Jan Burress after her death. He served in that role until 2006, when Donnie Phillips was elected to replace him.
Cope was heavily involved in his church, Robbins First Baptist, where he was a deacon and one-time Sunday school superintendent. He served a six-year stint with the U.S. Army Reserves and was at one time a trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. In later years he sold insurance.
Among his civic roles, Cope served on the Scott County Hospital Board, where he was once chairman, and on the board of directors for Mountain Peoples Health Councils.
Strunk’s resolution proposes to name the upstairs of the courthouse the “Verda (Buddy) Cope Jr. Genealogy Research Center.”
The historical society, which has occupied the Doisy House just off the courthouse mall since it was recognized in the 1980s, recently received the county legislative body’s blessing to move into the vacated second floor of the courthouse, which will serve as both the organization’s offices and its place for historical records. County Commission’s Intergovernmental Committee gave an initial okay to that lease agreement on Monday, and will be expected to finalize it when commissioners meet on June 18.