Don Franklin Cooper

November 24, 1932 ~ June 21, 2022 (age 89)


Don Franklin Cooper was called to reside with his Lord on June 21, 2022. Despite  his deteriorating health in his 89th year, Don was slowed but remained busy and  active in maintaining and caring for his Crescent City home. When Don was called  from this life, like his many years before, he was busy at work, mowing his lawn.  Don was known as a man who could devise any method to complete almost any  job. Don was constantly remodeling and repairing his home, using his cleverness  and on his own schedule. He told stories of how he devised ladders, scaffolding,  steps, seats, and other devices to allow for his work during his elder years.

Don Franklin Cooper was born during the depression on November 24, 1932, at  Stapp, Le Flore County, Oklahoma. For most of his life, he was called “Frank,” but  after he was married, he preferred to be called “Don.” Don’s formative years,  during the depression, were an era of challenge for his parents and siblings. Although he was a government employee, his father’s employment was touch and  go for many of those years. Don, born the fourth of nine children, was surrounded  by siblings – all in the same “depression-era boat” of family frugality and wanting.  Unfortunately, three of his siblings never lived beyond childhood.

Don’s father, Omar Cooper, a U.S. Forest Service employee, lived and worked in  and around the Ouachita National Forest of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The family  frequently moved, resulting in Don attending several Polk and Scott County (Arkansas) schools. Don was the only family member born in Oklahoma. 

In school, Don did better playing softball than studying. He loved softball and  baseball and jokingly said, “I hit lots of home runs. But the schools I attended were  small and had few players; when I ran home, I was batting again.” Don and his  family lived in Mena, Polk County, Arkansas, until he was nine years old, then  moved to Waldron in nearby Scott County.

After finishing school and as a boy, Don worked in the Ouachita National Forest of  Arkansas, cutting and peeling timber. In 1950, at the age of 17, he came with his  parents and family to Contra Costa County, California. When the family was  transitioning to move and live in California, Don and his family worked in the  cotton fields of Texas and the fruit orchards of California.

He was the typical mischievous boy in Arkansas, smoking and chewing tobacco.  Once, he got into trouble and had to pay for a billboard he and his brother  destroyed with rocks. But they managed to get away with a few stolen  watermelons and other Arkansas antics. In California, in his youth, Don was  known to have drank a little beer and participated in a few fist fights but mostly  loved to own and drive cars, as well as “arm wrestle” and cut up with his brothers. Don’s sister Joyce married and left Arkansas when Don was eleven years old, so  his sibling influence was all boys. Don was the middle son of the three older boys, so his brothers Charles and Joe, being the calmer boys, pretty much “accepted Don  as the head rabble-rouser, prankster and in some cases bully.” After the family  moved to California, Don and the older boys were practically the adults for Jimmy  and Gary, the two little brothers.

Don was known for his serious and emotional feelings. He loved his family and the  history they lived. He was also known for his giddiness and laugh-out-loud joyfulness. He is remembered for his quietness, laughter, and antics, where he told  stories and “snickered” out loud, laughing and snorting through his nose, leaning  back and tossing his head around.

Don is also remembered for the slow speed at which he completed tasks, and  ventures, where he was notoriously always late and the last to arrive and stubborn  enough to do the opposite of the norm. This was the Don his family knew, loved,  and expected.

Don was called to the service of his country from 1953-1955 in the U.S. Army. He  received his training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and served in post-war Korea with  the U.S. Army, 231st Engineers Combat Battalion. Don arrived in Korea when the  armistice was signed and helped rebuild a war-torn country. He returned from the  service, rejoined his family in Antioch, and returned to his job at U.S. Steel. He  married Shirley Dunham in October 1956 and began their family of three children,  David, Debbie, and Linda. Don and Shirley divorced in 1971.

Don was a steelworker for over 30 years in Contra Costa County. He retired from  USS-Posco Steel in Pittsburg and moved to Crescent City in 1992. In Crescent  City, he fulfilled his dream of driving a truck and working for another ten years,  fully retiring with his wife, Clara, in Crescent City, California. After Clara died in

In 2005, Don married Marshia Loar Ward in 2008. Marshia and Don happily lived in  Crescent City. Before Marshia’s death, Don was her caregiver, tirelessly providing  care until she died in 2020.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Omar and Pearl (Garrison) Cooper, four  siblings, Omar Dale, Lamar, Margie Ann, Jimmy Curtis, Charles Clinton Cooper, and brother-in-law, Bob Crump. He was preceded in death by his three wives Shirley Ann  Dunham Cooper, Clara Jane Thuesen Cooper, Marshia Helene Loar Cooper, son  David Franklin Cooper, daughter Deborah “Debbie” Jean Cooper, and  granddaughter Jaime Lee Cooper.

Don is survived by his daughter, Linda Renee Kite, and husband, Richard  Sr., and his two grandchildren Richard Lee Kite, Jr., and Cassandra  “Cassie” Nicole Morales (Ryan). And his two great-grandchildren, Autumn  Morales and Colton Morales.

Two brothers survive Don, Joe (Barbara) of Depoe Bay, Oregon, and Gary (Linda) of Orting, Washington, and his sister, Joyce Crump of McMinnville, Oregon, sister in law Vicki Cooper, as well as several nephews, nieces, and cousins,  and their families.

His family will forever miss Don and his reminiscing phone calls and visits. According to his wishes, Don will be buried next to his wife Clara Jane and in  proximity to other family members at Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery,  Antioch.

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