Richard Marious Cooper
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Richard Marious Cooper passed away January 15, 2013. He was born February 25, 1930 in Overton, Nevada to Richard and Alta Nielson Cooper. He grew up in Overton helping his family on the dairy farm and in the fields. His adventurous spirit took him to San Diego, California at age 17 to work as a mechanic at an auto dealership. A year later, he and a friend jumped a freight train to San Antonio, Texas where he worked as a bellboy in a local hotel.
While living in San Antonio, Richard enlisted in the Air Force and worked as a ground power technician. Richard was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming where he met his sweetheart, Mary Jane Amstutz. They were married on December 2, 1951. They were later sealed for time and eternity in the St. George LDS Temple on January 20, 1998. During eleven years of service in the Air Force, Richard was stationed in Germany and France, finishing at Nellis Air Force Base in :Las Vegas, Nevada.
Living in Las Vegas, Richard "Dick" and a friend, Darwin Lamb, started D & D Distributing; supplying fountain syrup and equipment to local hotels and restaurants. They delivered to a Denny's restaurant in Las Vegas where Richard eventually purchased part ownership in the restaurant. His involvement with Denny's blossomed and he eventually owned and operated a number of Denny's Restaurants in Nevada, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. He also owned a number of other businesses including a delicatessen and a truck stop in Las Vegas and a Hallmark Card Store in St. George.
Richard and Mary Jane brought their family to St. George in 1972 to operate the Denny's Restaurant on 1000 East.
After retiring from the restaurant in 1992, Richard and Mary Jane enjoyed many adventures, traveling extensively to all the continents.
Richard loved people and naturally drew people to him. He developed many lifelong friendships. He spent many days in the restaurants enjoying telling stories and visiting with his many friends. Richard was a generous person by giving freely of his means. He lived the gospel quietly, helping many young men and women by supporting them on missions. Richard and Mary Jane enjoyed serving as full-time missionaries at the St. George LDS Temple Visitor's Center and Historical Sites Mission.
Richard is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Jane; children: Mary Aileen Wade (Lawrence) of Santa Clara, Utah, William Richard Cooper (Dagmar) of Cortez, Colorado, Sharon Kay Hurley (Charles) of Mesquite, Nevada, Ivan Wesley Cooper (Brenda) of St. George, Utah, James Reed Cooper (Christine ) of St. George, Utah; 24 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren. His siblings include: Alzina Wiley, Franklin Cooper (deceased), Nevada Jones (deceased), Reed Cooper (deceased), Marietta Carson and Ivan Cooper.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Green Valley LDS Stake Center, 511 South Valley View Drive, St. George, Utah. Visitations will be held Monday evening, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 west St. George Blvd. and on Tuesday, prior to services, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Stake Center. Interment will follow at Tonaquint Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221. Please visit our website at www.metcalfmortuary.com for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.
Published in The Spectrum & Daily News from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2013