Hayden McTyiere Copeland

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Hayden McTyiere Copeland


It is with profound sorrow and great sense of loss, the family of Hayden McTyiere Copeland reports his sudden and unexpected death at home in Boone, North Carolina on Dec. 21, 2020.

Hayden, known as Hado to many, was born June 5, 1961 in Birmingham, Alabama. His early childhood was spent in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Brandon Hall School in Atlanta and graduated from LaGrange Academy and later went on to receive a degree in Environmental Science from LaGrange College.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife beloved Ashley Griffin Copeland, parents Dr. Robert and Jenny Copeland, twin brother Robert Theodore Copeland, nieces Jenny Maclain Copeland Davies, Savannah Joyce Copeland, Carter Drew Hewett, Griffin Elizabeth Hewett, and Davis Virginia Varnum, mother-in-law Jo Ann Davis Griffin and sister-in-law Virginia (Ginny) Griffin Varnum and many loving friends, dear family, and loyal fishing guests.

Hayden was an avid reader and passionate about American history and his Southern heritage. Early in life he found serenity in the great outdoors and became an avid outdoorsman. He loved to camp, hunt, and fish. Hayden excelled in fly fishing and became a world-class fly-fishing guide. 

Working with his brother, Theo, at the Appalachian Angler in Boone, North Carolina, he helped pioneer guided fly fishing in the Southeast United States. For twenty years, he was an important part of famous Alaska river float fishing in the summers. Hayden then went on to found his world renowned Bonefishing Expeditions which he operated from North and South Andros Islands, Bahamas. 

He was a lifelong student and teacher who saw beauty and potential in the quotidian. He delighted in the excitement of his guests as they were successful on the river. His rugged handsomeness, beautiful eyes, quick smile and his uniform of always a cap, usually a scarf around his neck, well-worn fishing attire, and his ability to make those around him comfortable, defined him.

His love for dogs was phenomenal. (He even trained his Boykin Spaniel, sweet special Scarlett, to play football with him, changing formation and going out for passes on single commands.) Hayden also loved mountain music and was an accomplished guitar player, who enjoyed entertaining friends and family.

Hayden’s fly-fishing competence and fly-casting skills were prodigious. The loyalty of his fishing clients were remarkable. He chose his own path in life and was his own man in all situations. He was rough edged but to those who knew him well, he was good as gold. Truly, he is a legend.

We will remember Hayden for his rugged, but always gentle uniqueness. We will also remember him for his love of his family; his love of his twin brother, Theo; his love of Ashley and her family; and his love of the outdoors.

He would say to us at this time:

“Sunset and evening star

And one clear call to me!

And may there be no moaning at the bar

When I put out to sea….”

A private Service of Witness to the Resurrection & Thanksgiving for the Life of Hayden Copeland was held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020 in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church. While only family attended, the public may join and worship by way of livestream at the following link:


Those wishing to share a condolence or remembrance with the family may do so by visiting www.shlagrange.com. Arrangements are by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary, 1010 Mooty Bridge Road, LaGrange, GA 30240 (706) 884-8636.