Robert Carl Cooper (Redz), 96, of Washington, DC formerly of Wharton, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. where he moved with his wife, Rosalie, in 1999.
Mr. Cooper was born in 1923 in Addison, Mich., the son of the late Jay and Clara Sherrer Cooper. Robert was a WWII veteran of the United States Navy, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. He was a corporate pilot (Texas Gulf, Inc.) by profession but also provided for his family as a flight instructor, crop duster, LP delivery driver and aircraft and auto mechanic. Robert had a passion for any and all things aviation and for working on anything mechanical; restoring several Austin Healeys. He and his wife and son, Jay, traveled the United States with their various campers and Airstream trailers. They loved touring our beautiful country and visiting friends and family. Robert also loved to read-novels, bios, service manuals-anything peaked his interest. He maintained a meticulous wood working shop and garage where he was able to dabble in carpentry and furniture repair or fabricate parts and pieces.
As the internet became available Mr. Cooper was able to track long lost Navy and aviation comrades, as well as maintain communication with family and friends. At the AFRH, he was, at his advanced age, the “go to guy” for computer problems. One of his most memorable internet finds was the decommissioning and deconstruction of the USS Forrestal on which he had participated in her “Shake Down” Cruise in 1955. He was able to track his son Robert’s (also a pilot) frequent flight paths through internet and so was able to “stay in the air” long after he could no longer fly himself.
Mr. Cooper was a devout Catholic and served as Eucharistic minister and with the Altar Guild during his long time affiliation with Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Wharton, as well as with Rose Catholic Chapel at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
His wife, Rosalie Anne McGoldrick Cooper, whom he married in 1947 and with immeasurable devotion cared for through her 12 years with Alzheimer’s, preceded him in death in 2002. His sons, Howard Joseph and Jay Gerard; grandson, Joseph Leon Olivo; great-granddaughter, Zoe Lovelace; and his 12 siblings preceded him as well.
Family and maintaining family ties was of utmost importance and he coordinated annual family reunions starting in 2006 - inspired by family reunions as a child in Michigan. He continued to visit nieces and nephews in Michigan until he stopped driving in 2017.
Mr. Cooper is survived by his children, Christopher (Kit) Cooper, Martha Elizabeth Olivo of Wharton, and Donna Marie Hall (Steve) formerly of Wharton, Robert Carl Cooper, Jr. (Lyndsie) of Greenville, S.C., Mary Ellen Boushie (Raymond) of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Frances Ruth Boberg (Don) of Farmville, N.C., Rosalie Agnes Cooper Chase (Jack) of Crockett, and Margaret Frye (Steve) of Winchester, Va.; 21 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
All services will be private. Interment will be at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made in Robert’s name to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, 140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW, Washington, DC 20011 or to Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 506 South East Street, Wharton, 77488.
Please view obituaries and tribute wall at www.ompsfuneralhome.com.