Honoring Our Elders: Celebrating The Tenth Anniversary of The Passing of Bill Coperthwaite

To remember those who came before us and left their mark. To show respect. To be humble in the face of time. To express love and reverence. To honor. To return.

Ever since we came to Knoll Farm, we have imagined a place within the forest within a 20-minute walk of the farmstead that honors the human beings who have inspired the things that happen here.   We have wanted to create a place that honors our elders, that allows anyone –their families, our work community, our alumni, anyone who has enjoyed Knoll Farm as well as all who will come to Knoll Farm in the future – to take a walk into the woods and to sit among these elders.

We have created a memorial forest on the one-acre flat bench just north of the logging road before the steep incline to the landing.  There are a dozen 150-year-old maples on this bench. To the north is the steep rise of the cliffs.  It’s a lovely, protected area that is accessible and close to the activity of the farm, but rarely visited now.

Scattered in a pleasing and intentional way around his hub will be a series of simple, inspiring structures that will serve as mini-shrines or memorials.  Bill Coperthwaite’ s memorial will  be the second Memorial structure to be established.

We see these “memorial structures” secured in place lightly so that they have minimal impact.  We would want them to withstand wind and to stay up, but also to decay slowly over time.  We believe the process of returning to the earth will be beautiful and will allow us time to honor and remember the lives and to live among their memories.  We are inspired by the memorial forest at Bread and Puppet which was created in 1983 to honor late performers and friends of the political theater. We love its whimsy, its art, its sense of question, its profound example of community, of the relationship between people and nature, and its impermanence.

Everyone is invited to bring mementos, photos, words, objects to place in the memorial yurt to conjure Bill’s spirit here on this land. Please also bring some food to share at a potluck community lunch. 


10:30                Arrivals at Knoll Fram

11:00                Presentation by Peter on Bill’s life and influence

Noon – 1:00      Potluck lunch

1:00 – 4:00       Dedication of Bill’s memorial structure in the forest.

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