Brent David Cooper passed away at the young age of 66 years old on March 08, 2018 at 1736, in his daughters home surrounded by friends and family. My dad fought a long, hard, and very admirable battle with Multiple Myeloma Cancer that eventually ended in failure of his Heart, Kidneys, and Liver.
Dad proudly served with the 82nd and 101st Airborne as a Radio Electrician and a Ground Radio Equipment Repairman. He spoke fondly of his time in the Azores Islands and in the Carolinas. To this day his best friend is still his military comrade Stoney(Scott) Stonehill. Dad and Stoney were planning to have a trip on their motorcycles unfortunately; life had other plans for dad. But, it didn’t keep them from planning and dreaming about their trip.
Dad is the most honest, stubborn and hardworking man I have ever known. Dad made his living driving truck both over the road and in the oilfield. But, his true passion was farming. Dad loved cutting timber with his brother Larry and they had big plans to go into farming with each other and logging was going to help them get there. Unfortunately Larry was killed during a logging accident and he missed him sorely ever since. However, it didn’t stop him from trying to continue his farming dreams. Larry would have come back to smack him upside the head if he would have quit then. I still have vague memories of playing around the potato farm with my dad during the day while mom was at school. I even vaguely remember climbing up the conveyer belt onto some taller equipment and had to be rescued. I’m not sure mom ever let him live that down. I rarely remember dad sitting down during the day. Dad was always working on improving our property, building fence, taking care of the cattle or driving truck, he didn’t like having idle hands. Dad always supported Cameron and I in our stock show and my horse adventures. It seemed like he always had a project for Cameron and I to work on too. You always knew if there was an activity to go to or a friend you wanted to hang out with that dad would have a “project” for you to complete before you could go, we dreaded this. But, over the years, those projects have turned into amazing skills and lessons to have throughout life…I guess he knew what he was doing, even if we thought we were just slaves.
Dad loved wrestling until he got Cauliflower Ear and wasn’t able to anymore. It didn’t stop him from trying to teach Cameron to wrestle. Cameron tried but, it really wasn’t his thing and I think it secretly drove dad crazy. But, he was still proud of Cameron for trying. We grew up watching dad play softball; he loved playing in church leagues and just for fun. He taught both Cameron and I and Celisa how to play softball. It quickly became a passion of mine and we would spend many hours outside playing catch and hitting a ball around the diamonds in the evenings for family home evening.
As long as I can remember, my dad always had three things: A mustache, a big cowboy hat, and cowboy boots. These three things were a staple in his life…even when he wore his swimming shorts and rode his bike through the neighborhood looking for Cameron and I. We were guaranteed to be horrifically embarrassed by this and I’m pretty positive he did this on purpose! We always knew what bus dad was substituting on growing up because you could hear kids talking about “the cowboy with the big hat on the bus” no one liked when dad drove the bus if you were a rowdy child and wouldn’t listen and he would pull over and quietly saunter to the back of the bus without saying a word just to saunter back to the kids who were causing trouble. He would talk in almost a whisper and so calm it was guaranteed to make anyone nervous. It didn’t take long for dad to get a reputation of being a laid back but, stern bus driver. I would always get asked “What is your dads name?” because when he was asked he would only respond with “sir” “mister” or “bus driver”.
Dad loved the gospel, going to the temple, being a youth leader and he loved teaching sunday school. He would get so amped up during his class that everyone loved coming to his classes but, sometimes they could really get long because his Cooper trait would come out and he would get talking and talking but, not many ever really seemed to mind. Dad loved to sing too. I can always remember singing in choirs with dad for church and I will miss hearing him sing. I remember the year he sang, “There ain’t nothing wrong with the radio” at the Cooper family reunion. It was about the only thing that wasn’t wrong with that beat up old ford, I’m pretty sure that was the year I put my foot through the floorboard and dad had a piece of plywood over it to keep us from falling through it again.
Dad was always heavily involved in our family, even when he had to be on the road for days or weeks at a time. We always knew he would call every night to hear about our day and tell us good night. I looked forward to those calls, even though they were brief, dad was never a big talker over the phone. On the other hand, if we were causing mom grief, which happened quite often with me as a teen. Those conversations could be a little nerve racking and I dreaded when he would get home. I dug A LOT of fence post holes as a kid and threw a lot of tire chains in the winter months when I had to go over the road with him and it paid off after I began driving truck myself and I could throw chains faster than most of the guys I worked with; I’m pretty sure that was a proud daddy moment when I told him that.
My dad was a pretty amazing man but, what topped the cake wasn’t the icing, because we all know that he didn’t like icing. But, the fact that he could take and adopt children that weren’t even his blood and love them like they were his blood. Cameron and I were adopted into the best home that any kid could dream of. Then to top it off they adopted my best friends Kari and Celisa and their families just as if they were their own kids. About five years ago my birth family found me and it was pretty much instantaneous that our family grew even larger. You would never know that our families hadn’t known each other prior to 5 years ago. My parents, both my moms and dad grew to be best friends and adopted each other’s families. Because of this my dad gained five more children older than me. But, he loved them just as much as he loved Cameron, my best friends and I. Our family just grew and improved, family’s just get better with age.
If you ever need a role model for your young men Brent was the one to use as an example. He was always the gentleman, holding doors, whispering sweet nothings in my mom’s ear and doing little things to make her smile. He never did big gestures and but, he always had a sweet spot for mom and enjoyed making her smile. When he asked mom to marry him he gave her 2 red roses and 1 white rose. Red roses to symbolize their love between them and the white rose to symbolize God and eternity. Dad gave these to her each year for Valentine, up till the end. When his mom was close to passing he brought her a dozen red roses and said he wanted her to have them now because, he wanted her to see them before she died. Now most of you know my mom and you know that trying to get her to sit still for more than 5 minutes is about like trying to catch a greased pig. Dad would try valiantly to get mom to sit down and watch a show with him and not do anything else. Just enjoy each other’s company and enjoy a movie. Shortly after the movie started you would here a constant dialog of “Kriss will you just sit down” Mom replies with, “Let me just get this laundry started and I’ll fold these” or “Let me just wipe down this counter” and then she would say “Oh my Gosh! What just happened?” “That mean man, that wasn’t very nice.” So he would explain what happened and try again to convince her to sit down and watch the show with him. Well by the time dad was about 15 minutes into the show I’m not sure if he had given up on spending some time with mom or the movie because mom was constantly asking questions and he couldn’t focus on it anyways. If ya’ll are still wondering, mom is still this way and it still makes us all crazy.
Dad loved to camp, as long as I can remember we were always camping or going on picnics. Any excuse dad had to barbeque or dutch oven cook and make tin foil dinners he was going to take. Dad also loved making sour dough biscuits and I’ve yet to taste anyone’s that were as good as his. I still wish he had a start that I could have learned from before he got to sick. Dad planned his work schedule every year around the Family Reunions. I remember going out to the creek with dad and him teaching me how to fly fish, but, that rod of his was not to be handled by anyone but, dad unless you were strictly supervised. I still get nervous when I mess with it because I don’t want to be the one to mess it up! One of the things I think we both regret was not being able to go on the High Uintas trip together that Gerald and Allen would do every year with their kids. I always wanted to go but, dad was never able to take me. The year that dad planned on taking me ended up with some crazy little thing like dad having open heart surgery, you know nothing major or anything. As dad got older mom and him would take many drives up Split Mountain and over to the quarry and Dry Fork Canyon, just anywhere to be able to get out and see the scenery and have picnics. I think it helped them to just forget about all the craziness in life and just enjoy the here and now.
Clear to the end dad never stopped with his stubbornness or his sarcastic humor. Dad takes melt your skin off hot showers with the heater running full blast at the same time. His home health aide Diane would tell him she was going to sweat off some pounds helping him shower, the first time they had met. Dad replied without looking at her, “Maybe you need to lose a few pounds.” After the shower he actually looked at her and said, “Okay maybe you don’t need to lose any”. Ever since then it has been a constant joke with them. Dad would always sing a little tune for her too and it was the highlight of her visit. Dad loved his Nurse Tina, she was so amazing with him. If mom couldn’t get him to do something, then mom would come to me and if I couldn’t get dad to do it, then I went to Tina. Dad would do just about anything for Tina. He looked forward to their visits and thought of her and Diane as family. Clear to the end dad was always worried about others and making sure we were all okay. It wasn’t until Jesse finally told him, “It’s okay for you to go, I will take care of Kriss and Heather” and his sister Doris showed up that he finally was able to pass to the other side peacefully. I’m sure it is a joyous celebration upstairs in the sky, as Stoney said, I’m sure “he sauntered into Paradise. (You know he would never have run). We love you dad and we look forward to seeing you and Cameron again soon.