Lilburn Cooper (1913 - 2017)

Obituary
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  • "Lilburn was a wonderful story teller and the keeper of..."
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Lilburn Lee Cooper
August 4, 1913 - April 26, 2017
Lilburn Lee Cooper, long time resident of Caldwell died at age 103 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise with his family by his side. Lilburn was a twin. His parents were James and Golda Cooper. His twin sister, Zella Marie, was born late on August 3 and Lilburn was born early on August 4, 1913 in Willow Springs, Missouri. He had two younger sisters, Esther Helen and Dorothy Jewel. He also had an older half brother, Verna Charlie "Buck" Cooper. Lilburn attended school in various locations in the Ozark Mountain Country of south central Missouri, including Chicken Bristle, Mint Springs, Vanzant, Denlow and Ava before graduating high school in Cabool in 1934. These were the Depression years, but Lilburn, Zella, Esther and Dorothy all graduated from high school and attended Southwest Baptist College at Bolivar, Missouri.
Lilburn taught school in Clifty Hall, Mo. for four years and in Coble, Mo. for one year before being drafted into the United States Army Air Forces on June 4, 1942. He did basic training in St. Louis and shipped overseas on New Years eve 1942 from Miami, Florida. He was overseas for the next two years stationed at Accra in the Gold Coast which was part of British West Africa at the time. He was a cook at the Allied air base which hosted U.S. aircraft flying between the United States and either the European or the Pacific theaters. Lilburn returned to the United States in December 1944.
Lilburn was introduced to his future wife, Irene Bittick, by his sister Dorothy shortly after he completed basic training and they corresponded while he was overseas. After he returned stateside he traveled to Caldwell, Idaho, proposed and married Irene on January 7, 1945. After a short honeymoon to Willow Springs, MO to visit family, Lilburn reported to Douglas Air Base in Long Beach, California. He was later transferred to Coolidge Air Base in Coolidge, Arizona and was discharged at Gowen Field Air Base in Boise, Idaho on November 1, 1945, shortly after WWII ended with the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945.
After his discharge, Lilburn and Irene moved to Caldwell where Lilburn worked at the courthouse, Safeway grocery store, Garber Motors, Oak Seed Company, Crookham Seed Company and then for the City of Caldwell. Irene owned and operated her own beauty shop in their home for over thirty years. Lilburn worked at the Canyon Hill Cemetery most of his twenty-nine year career with the City and retired as the City Park Superintendent in 1979. Irene passed away on November 29, 2003, after the two had been married for nearly fifty-nine years. She was sorely missed by Lilburn, but he continued to live independently and on his own at their small farm until he was hospitalized shortly before his death.
Lilburn is survived by his son, Gary (Jane) Cooper of Pocatello, daughter, Barbara (Bill) Precht of Meridian, four grandchildren (Aaron, Pete and Elizabeth Cooper and Jacob Precht) and five great-grandchildren (Tait, Evelyn, Clayton, Taylor and Sydney). He will be buried at Canyon Hill Cemetery alongside his wife.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 1, 2017 at Dakan Funeral Chapel, Caldwell. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com.

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Funeral Home
Dakan Funeral Chapel
504 South Kimball Avenue
Caldwell, ID 83605
(208) 459-3629
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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Apr. 29, 2017