Mervin Potter Coover passed away Oct. 31, 2012, in Bellevue, Wash., of an apparent heart attack. He was 94.
Merv was born Oct. 28, 1918, in East Orange, N.J., to Frances Amy (Potter) Coover and Mervin Sylvester Coover. His father was serving in France during World War I when Merv was born. Merv grew up in Boulder, Colo., where he learned to hunt, fish, horseback ride, backpack and ski. He spent many happy days at the family cabin on the North St. Vrain River.
The Coover family moved to Ames, Iowa, where Merv graduated from Ames High School in 1937. In 1942, Merv graduated from Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering - his father having been one of Merv's professors. At the graduation ceremony, Merv wore his reserve officer uniform under his cap and gown and two hours after graduation, reported for active duty at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
During his World War II
military service, Merv was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Camp Abbot, Ore., and Fort Lewis, Wash., rising to the rank of major in the Army Corps of Engineers.
While in college, Merv met and fell in love with Mae Marguerite Platt whom he married Oct. 17, 1942, in Oelwein, Iowa. Released from active duty at the end of the war, he drove his young family to Schenectady, N.Y., to begin a lifetime career with the General Electric Company.
Work with General Electric took the family from Scotia and Burnt Hills, N.Y., to Idaho Falls, Idaho, thence to Radnor and Berwyn, Pa., Decatur, Ala., Pass Christian, Miss., Cincinnati, Ohio, and San Jose, Calif., where Merv retired Feb. 2, 1982.
The couple moved to Cache Valley, Utah, built a timber frame home in Providence and welcomed hundreds of visitors over the years, young and old, from all walks of life and from many countries. Some of their fondest memories involve time spent with international students, some of whom became longtime friends.
Merv strongly believed it was a citizen's duty to keep our politicians informed and honest - and he exemplified this belief in the hundreds of well-considered letters he mailed to local, state and national political leaders on a wide range of environmental, economic, human health and educational issues. Throughout his 70-year marriage to Mae, the two worked together on many campaigns for community betterment, from school board elections to water rights, from global warming to historical preservation to highway beautification.
Merv was active in church life no matter where he lived and at First Presbyterian Church in Logan, Utah, helped Mae and other church members introduce Earth Sunday to the congregation as a way of focusing on the biblical mandate to care for creation. Merv helped to underwrite Logan's first food bank and became deeply involved in Habitat for Humanity, the Audubon Society, Hospice and The Stokes Nature Center.
Merv is survived by his wife Mae; daughters Frances Coover (Nicholas Boynton) of Missoula, Mont., Teresa Kragnes (Kermit) of Alton, Mo., and Aris Kihara (Michael) of Kent, Wash.; and son Mervin Platt Coover (June) Bellevue, Wash. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, John Kragnes (Kathy), Jessica Brunell (Ron), Austin Coover (Christie), Andrew Coover, Aris June Coover, Ayden Kihara and Logan Kihara; and seven great-grandchildren. Merv is survived by his sister Martha Anderson of Ames, Iowa, and preceded in death by his brother George Bertrand Coover and grandson Kermit E. Kragnes.
A service in celebration of the life of Mervin Coover will take place Sunday, Nov. 11, in Bellevue, Wash.
In lieu of flowers, Mae requests that donations be made to Stokes Nature Center, PO Box 4204, Logan, UT 84323-4204, in honor of Merv's participation in founding the center and his lifelong devotion to nature.