Obituary for Kenneth Cooper
Kenneth Cooper was born in London in 1924, the child of Londoners for many generations back. He excelled at school and was the first in his family to receive a higher education. He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was trained as an aircraft engineer before being sent out to support the war effort in 1942. He married Eileen Hart in 1953 and a daughter was born in 1954, but sadly died at the age of 10 months. A second daughter was born in 1955, followed by a son in 1958.
In 1963 the whole family emigrated to California and there followed ten years of mainly aircraft design work in a number of different companies in California, culminating in a senior position in McDonnell Douglas aircraft company. But Kenneth was never one to rest on his laurels. In 1974 the family moved back to England and Kenneth and Eileen bought a small hardware store, which they ran for about three years. Tragically, Eileen died in 1978, and Kenneth went back to California. After some years there he met, and married, Thelma in 1980 .
This opened a new chapter in his life, which saw him and Thelma work together running two pre-schools, one in California and one in Idaho. It also brought Kenneth into the Christian community. The couple moved to Indonesia for three years on an aircraft design contract, where they made close friends among the Christian missionary community. When they returned they moved to Idaho, Thelma’s home state, where Kenneth expanded his mechanical design work from aircraft to agricultural machinery. He also had a well-equipped workshop and loved to work on projects at his home in Emmett, ranging from constructing a beautiful glass-fronted cabinet to display a friend’s life-sized porcelain doll, to designing and building a trailer for his mobility scooter just weeks before his death.
Although an engineer by profession, Kenneth also loved to read and to write, and was prolific in his production of poems, short stories, and essays. He volunteered for the Idaho State Library for 14 years, reading books for the blind onto tape and employing his wide repertoire of accents. He painted and he acted. He was always up for a discussion on any subject and was interested in almost everything. Kenneth lived a full, generous life, and never turned anything down if it was something to build or to learn or to try. He was both English and American. His beginnings were important to him, and in England he had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but in Idaho he acquired, through Thelma, a new family spanning the generations, and in his last years these people were very special to him.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at the Potter Funeral Chapel of Emmett. Services will also be livestreamed on Kenneth’s obituary page at www.potterchapel.com.
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