Jerry Lee Cooper, age 82 , of Hawkins, WI; beloved husband of Sally Jo, passed away Wednesday, June 21st, 2023, at Select Specialty Hospital in Madison, WI.
Born to Kittie and Lee Cooper July 1st, 1940, in Elkhorn, WI. He attended High School in Readstown, WI. Jerry joined the Army at 17 years of age and served in the 82nd Airborne Division as a Jump Master. A very proud paratrooper who jumped over a hundred times to clear the jump zone for his troops. He also served 8 years as the Army Corps Engineer Officer of Communications.
After service he graduated from Auctioneer School and became well-known as Colonel Cooper Auctioneer in the Delavan, Lake Geneva area, where he along with his mother, co-owned K & K Antiques Delavan.
Later he moved his family up north to Hawkins , WI, where they opened another Antique shop, Cooper's Collectibles. Jerry, along with SallyJo, together designed their new line of twig lighting and rustic furniture and started their new business, the Cooper Twig Lamp Company, where they sold and shipped twig lighting and rustic furniture all over the country. Jerry also was a partner with his Son, Jason, in another company, The Cooper Wreath Company. Jason still owns it. He kept very busy with retail his whole life until he became ill with Cancer.
Jerry also loved to write and had a few things published and also wrote for different greeting card companies. He had a great sense of humor, so writing humorous cards for them came easy. Jerry had a lifetime love for hunting and fishing and the outdoors. He was a great trapper who learned from his mother when he was only 7. She ran three trap lines and taught him how to skin them as well . Every day before school he would check his trap line and after school he would skin them the way his mother taught him. Jerry also taught his sons very early on by putting them on his shoulders, along with a pack basket on his back, he would carry them across the creeks and the rivers to check his traps. Both of his sons learned the love to trap just as he did. Countless memories were made on his trap lines. He felt so fortunate to live the life that he lived and to share his love of the outdoors with his wife as well. They did everything together, whether it was watching a packer game, a Brewer game, a walk in the woods, fishing on the Flambeau River, or cooking, etc. You always knew if you saw one the other was close by .
He loved to keep his mind busy by doing crossword puzzles, watching TV, listening to the 50's & 60's rock n' roll, John Prine, and country.
Jerry was one of a kind and he will be sadly missed by all as a beloved husband; a loving father and grandfather; wonderful Uncle; and a great and loyal friend. He was so loved by everyone and a very favorite of many young and old alike.
The family would like to thank Weston hospital Drs. And Nurses for all of the wonderful and kind professional care Jerry received in their ICU dept. Also would like to thank Marshfield Clinic ICU and Select Speciality Hospital (Madison) for their care and kindness.
He married SallyJo Carro on December 28, 1978, at The Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.
Jerry leaves behind his beloved wife of 45 years, SallyJo, and their son, Jason Cooper, of Hawkins, WI; four children from a previous marriage: Valerie ( Ron ) Holland of Cocoa, FL., Coral Cooper of Burlington, WI., Gerald (Michelle) of Lil Suamico, WI., and Chrissy (John) Minikowski of Burlington, WI; 11 Grandchildren; 10 Great-Grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Jerry was preceded in death by his mother, Kitty Drew Pratt Kent; his father, Lee Oscar Cooper; his four sisters: Jeanette Peck, Donna Cooper, Virginia Steurer, and Carol ( Gerald ) Schultz; and his brothers-in-law, Sid Peck and James Steurer.
Date for celebration of life will be determined.