James (Jim) Cooper was born at home in Center, Colorado on August 13, 1925, to Silas Verne and Audra Konence Cooper. He was the youngest son of the couple who made their home North of Center where they farmed for many years. Jim graduated from Center High School in 1942. Shortly after graduation Jim enlisted in the Army Air Corp. during World War II. He was stationed in Alabama where he trained as a Bombardier. After leaving the Air Force Jim returned to Center to farm potatoes.
He met Virginia Yates in Del Norte. They married at the home of Virginia’s parents, William and Arlan Yates, on January 4, 1948. The couple made their home North of Center from 1948 to 1959. They moved to Monte Vista in 1959 were Jim worked for Monte Electric. In 1962 Jim started Cooper Drilling which has serviced the irrigation needs of the San Luis Valley for over 56 years. The company is still in the family, currently owned and operated by Jim’s sons David and Mike Cooper both of Monte Vista.
Jim and Virginia had seven children, Harold Dean, Gloria, Donna, David, Greta, Audra and Mike. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping throughout his life in the Valley. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed keeping busy with his many chores. He was known by many as simply “Grandpa” with a gruff voice, but those who knew him knew his bark was worse than his bite.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, Carrie Kathleen (Twite), Silas Verne Jr, Robert and Phyllis (Ackley), his wife of 64 years, Virginia, and his eldest son Harold Dean Cooper. Survivors are his children Gloria (Rudie) Landis, Donna (Carl) Matchett, David Cooper, Greta (Kernek) McDonald, Audra Cooper and Mike (Lori) Cooper, twenty grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Jim’s family and friends honored him with a memorial service on Saturday, May 19, 2018. To honor Jim’s memory, Memorial Donations can be made to the Rio Grande Hospital, 310C County Rd 14, Del Norte, CO 81132.