ŠThe Stilwell Democrat Journal Wednesday, May 2, 2018 Submitted by Jan Grooms
JT ‘Smiley’ Cooper of Stilwell, OK was born the third of eleven children on the 23rd of April, 1942 in Jackson County, Missouri and left this life to meet his Lord and Savior on the 24th of April, 2018 at the age of 76 years & 1 day.
JT, nicknamed ‘Smiley,’ was known for several things throughout his life but none was more prominent than the near constant smile from which his moniker was derived. As ever present as his wallet on a chain and the suspenders he wore it was always in place and greeting whomever he would meet. Throughout the county and this part of the state there is just not enough most people could say about this man who was ever smiling. He had a heart as big as his smile and everyone who encountered him knew it.
Smiley had a true and deep love of cars, trucks, and CB radios. Having been raised within his dad’s business, Cooper Salvage in Peavine Community, his ability to fix most anything stayed with him and made way for the career paths Smiley would choose throughout his life. After leaving Peavine in his younger years to work in Kansas City, Mo Smiley decided that he preferred the quieter and slower paced life of being closer to home so he returned to Stilwell in order to make his life and career there. Smiley was his own man and did things in his own way.
Smiley always held jobs that kept him close to his love of cars and where he would never be far from his beloved CB radio. For the longest parts of his professional life he worked at Bruner Salvage keeping with his roots of early salvage knowledge and skill and also as a tow truck driver for his dear friend Wilbur Hart. If his name is mentioned anywhere in town you will most surely run into someone who will tell you a story involving his smile, a vehicle, a wrecker, or a CB radio.
Smiley was preceded in death by his parents, Chester H. Cooper and Edna Mae Martin- Cooper, and four brothers, JC Cooper, Kenneth Cooper, JR Cooper, and Charlie Cooper.
He is survived by Lena Mae Cooper-McMurtry and husband Audie of Stilwell, OK; Jerry Cooper of Yukon, OK; John Henry Cooper of Stilwell, OK; Jimmy Cooper of Dewey, OK; Helen ‘Ellen’ Cooper of Bartlesville, OK; and his baby sister Reba Cooper- Morris and husband and dear friend of Smiley, Russell of Stilwell, OK. Smiley is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins and lots of friends who are far too numerous to list.
Family and friends will pay their respects and say their final goodbyes at a graveside service on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m., April 26, 2018 at Reese Cemetery in Peavine Community. Services were entrusted to the care and direction of Hart Funeral Home in Stilwell. Everyone who knew him is invited to attend.
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