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Cooper Polk Robbins Jr.

1932 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Cooper Polk Robbins Jr. Obituary
BRYAN "I believe this is the best I've ever had," Cooper Robbins, Jr. would say about things he savored most in life. To those he loved, Cooper himself was also one of the best they have ever known. He passed away on Tuesday, January 19, 2016; Cooper was 83.

For Cooper, life began on March 17, 1932, in Fort Worth. His father was Cooper Robbins, Sr., a Texas high school and college football legend and coach at North Side High School and Diamond Hill High School. His mother, Elizabeth Nabors Robbins, was the only child of Lee and Minnie Nabors, an early-pioneer couple who were influential in the Fort Worth area. Cooper had twin brothers, Ronald (and wife Mary Sue) and Donald (and wife Judy) Robbins, who now survive him. When Cooper Sr. became the head coach of Breckenridge High School, the family relocated there. It was at Breckenridge High-where he played linebacker on defense and center on offense, under his dad-that Cooper Jr. first earned his nickname: "Tuffy." During one game versus Graham High, Cooper was punched in the face by a player just in front of him (no face guards at the time), with four of his teeth broken as a result. His coach and father grabbed the cleat pliers and extracted the remaining bits of the broken teeth so that Cooper could play out the remainder of the game, while his mother nearly fainted when she saw the blood running down the front of her son's jersey. (Later, Cooper would become good friends with the culprit at Texas A&M.)

But he wasn't content to play football-Cooper also loved musical theater and drama. His favorite plays included Porgy & Bess and The Wizard of Oz and later, The Phantom of the Opera. In high school, he won an acting contest, and he loved the musical stylings of various artists, from crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to originals like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. Cooper never lost his love of music and finer things, and he also learned many practical skills as a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and later, an Eagle Scout; he taught Indian lore in costumes and headdresses which he had made himself, and he was one of four Scouts from Breckenridge to attend the 1947 World Jamboree in Moisson, France. In addition to the high moral standards he learned in Boy Scouts, Cooper found a solid foundation of faith in being raised with a loving church family, attending First Christian Church in Breckenridge, dating the preacher's daughter and considering the ministry as a career. He always stayed close to God, and later in life, he would design Bethany Christian Church in Odessa.

Born to be an Aggie, Cooper earned his way through TAMU by winning a football scholarship after he enrolled in school-as the toughest 153-pound linebacker the Aggies had ever had. He never simply tackled a player; instead, he hit and then hung on to the other man for dear life until help arrived. To complicate things, Cooper's vision was so poor that he wore thick goggles on the field in order to see, but at times, he still managed to tackle the wrong man. He worked hard though, and by his sophomore year, he had a scholarship that would pay for the first four (out of five) years for his Architectural Construction degree. All told, Cooper received a Fish Numeral and two varsity letters in football at Texas A&M, plus his degree. Years later, season after season, Cooper would return to TAMU to participate in Aggie Kickoff Camps, mixing with coaches and players until he was physically unable to do so-he might have been the most loyal Aggie who ever lived! Professionally, Cooper's Architectural Construction degree served him well in his work as a cost estimator and project manager. In 2004, he retired in order to move to College Station and "live the dream of an Aggie Alumni."

Cooper was also fortunate to find love twice in his life, first with Betty O'Bannion in 1953. They married and became the parents of four children: Darelle, Darel (and wife Kay), Cheryl (and husband Steve Holden) and Bill (and wife Kathy). Eventually, Betty became so ill that she returned to live with her parents, leaving Cooper as a single father to four young children; she passed away in 1963. Then in 1964, Cooper met and married Sara Lynn Leck, and they celebrated their 51stwedding anniversary on April 17, 2015. Cooper and Sara landed in various locations around Texas over the years, including Odessa, Midland, Morgan's Point Resort at Lake Belton and finally, College Station. Later, Cooper would settle at Carriage Inn's assisted living facility in Bryan following the passing of Sara in June of 2015.

Cooper believed in tradition, discipline, perfection and beauty, as reflected in the time and attention he paid to the things and the people he loved. One of his favorite memories included taking all of his grandchildren to the Alamo Bowl. His grandchildren include: Lynsey, Leah, Andie Ray, Bobby, Keely and Tawny, in addition to ten great-grandchildren.

Friends and family will gather to celebrate and honor Cooper's life from 5-8 PM on Friday, January 22, 2016, at Hillier Funeral Home in Bryan. Cooper's Life Celebration will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 220 Rock Prairie Rd, in College Station, with interment to follow at the Aggie Field of Honor.

Visit www.hillierfuneralhome.com to learn more about Cooper's extraordinary life.
Published in Odessa American on Jan. 22, 2016
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