Every time Clarence Cooper traveled he took the back roads, always looking to see what lay over the next hill, seeking new adventure and searching for something different. As a final trip he departed early Sunday morning, July 30, 2017, as he left this life to see what awaited in the next. He was 78. A short memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Lovelake Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 700 E. Lovelake Road in Taylor.
He was born July 17, 1939, in Phoenix to Jesse Cooper and Geneva Burkett. He loved animals, raising raccoons, badgers, skunks and porcupines. Storytelling came natural to him and many of his stories centered on his love of animals.
He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1958. Boy Scouts and close friends eventually led to his joining the Mormon Church in 1955. Soon thereafter, he served a 2½-year LDS mission in Uruguay and Paraguay. Missionary work always remained in his blood and throughout his life he enjoyed sharing the joy of the gospel with others.
While on his mission he gained a love of language and culture, which eventually influenced his schooling and career. He was a remarkable Spanish linguist, and spoke Navajo and limited German.
He graduated from the University of Arizona and later finished a master’s Degree in Gunnison, Colo.
Clarence married Dona Lucille Johnson on July 28, 1967.
Survivors include his wife; their four sons, Clint, Chad, Caleb and Curt; their beautiful daughters-in-law; and five wonderful grandchildren. Mary Sue Rollins is his sole surviving sibling, along with Donna R. Cooper, his older brother Jerry’s spouse.
Two daughters did not survive infancy, but were surely there to greet him as he stepped through the veil to the other side.
Clarence had a career in education that took the family to all corners of Arizona and Oregon, where he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Germany with the Department of Defense and finally with The Defense Logistics Agency in Ogden, Utah, where he retired. His service with the federal government included a short stint with the U.S. Army Reserves and The National Guard.
His love of travel and adventure heavily influenced his sons. He always said they were his lasting legacy. As he got older, his stories got longer, better and often revolved around their exploits.
Owens Livingston Mortuary-Heritage Chapel in Snowflake was in charge of the arrangements.