Donald R. Cooper passed away peacefully in Truckee on August 8, 2012 after a long illness. The oldest child of Beatrice Cooper and Donald M. Cooper, Don was born in Los Angeles on December 13, 1931. He attended Loyola High School and then moved to northern California, where he graduated from Stanford University in 1955 and University of the Pacific Dental School in 1961.
Don dedicated his life to helping others. He served in the U.S. Navy as Ensign and Lieutenant JG aboard the USS Erben, which took him around the world. He was a respected dentist in Palo Alto for 38 years, where his skilled craftsmanship, renowned painless shots and kind demeanor earned him the loyalty of generations of patients. Don was highly active in community service, acting as President of Neighbors Abroad, President of Kiwanis in Palo Alto, Lieutenant Governor of Kiwanis International, and most recently, as treasurer of North Tahoe Arts.
A friend called Don “a fearless person who knew how to live life at 110%.” He was an avid skier on snow and water, racking up millions of vertical feet and wowing onlookers with his wild waterskiing antics. Don was a natural entertainer, spearheading countless theatrical performances large and small. Music was a lifelong passion; he played with his Navy shipboard band and with his wife, he founded the popular Bay Area bluegrass band Wild Oats and Honey. He sang and played guitar and harmonica with the group for 11 years.
Above all, Don was a loyal and loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. His enthusiasm for genealogy brought more family into the fold. A master of hospitality, he extended a warm welcome to everyone, with a ready smile, twinkle in his eye and genial conversation.
Don is survived by artist and musician Mary Lou, his wife of 47 years; daughters Valerie Myers (Steve), Kathleen Cooper, Linda Burbank (Sam); grandchildren Scott Myers, Taryn Myers, Celeste Burbank; sister Jeanne McClellan (Barry); niece Donna Forman, nephew Kelly Seyarto (Denise), nephew Stephen Seyarto (Sherrell); and a multitude of cousins. He was predeceased by his sister Diane Seyarto and his daughter Elizabeth Joy.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held on August 25, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kingswood Drive, Kings Beach, California.