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Leroy Cooper Jr.

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Leroy Cooper Jr. Obituary
December 6, 1918 - July 25, 2015 Leroy Cooper Jr. Born Dec 6, 1918 in Memphis Tenn. He attended public schools there, graduating from Central High School. He spent most of his summers on a cotton plantation in Earl Arkansas riding horses and swimming in the muddy rivers and lakes on the plantation. He enjoyed tennis and in high school was the lifeguard and swimming instructor at the Memphis Country Club. At the early age of 9 his interest and love of aviation was kindled when he got his first airplane ride in a sister ship to Lindberg's Spirit of St. Louis at Cape May, New Jersey in 1929. Leroy attended the University of Virginia 1936-1940 and was a member of Phi Kappa fraternity. He graduated and also completed Marine Officers Training School to become a 2nd lieutenant in the USMC reserve. In the fall of 1940 he went to work at Wright Aeronautical Corp. in Patterson New Jersey, where he met the girl he wanted to marry, Doris Helene Hinchliffe. As luck would have it, he got his orders in Jan 1941 to report to active duty in the 1st Marine division on July 5, 1941. Since he wanted to be an aviator, he resigned his commission in the Marine Corps and became a naval aviator cadet and started flight training in Jacksonville, Fl. in May of 1941 (a fateful decision). He was commissioned Ensign Dec 8, 1941 and during the war he served as flight instructor and was assigned to anti-sub patrol squadron VPB-130 in the south Atlantic, Brazil. Toward the end of the war he married Doris in Paterson New Jersey Feb. 10, 1945. After the war he returned to Wright Aeronautical as an engineering test pilot. On one of his test flights he had a dead stick emergency landing on a golf course covered in snow. No serious injuries except a broken thumb. His daughter Lani was born in 1945 and his son Peter followed in 1949. Leroy continued in aviation throughout his career working at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica and Lockheed. He traveled extensively with these companies seeing most of South America, Europe, and Asia. He was a member of the QB's (Quiet Birdmen) and SETP (Society of experimental Test Pilots). In 1976 He and good friend Jack McGowan formed Cammacorp an aircraft management co. The goal was to re-engine and re-certify the DC-8 transport to comply with governmental noise regulations and improve fuel economy. He was successful and proved that the free enterprise system works as their company re-engined 110 DC-8s. In later years he was president of The Beach Club in Santa Monica, a member of Los Angeles Country Club. He played tennis and paddle tennis until his arm gave out then it was on to golf. He attributes his good health to his wife of 70 years insisting he ate good food and drank good vodka. Leroy was truly a self-made man, served his country, and championed the free enterprise system with his successful aviation company. He was a kind, gentle man with a competitive streak and the people skills to get things done. We should all hope to live to 96 with as full a life with no regrets. Leroy was preceded by his daughter Lani and survived by his wife of 70 years Doris, his brother Carroll Cooper, his son Peter, and three grand kids Briana Cooper, Ben Schulte and Dana Schulte Cooper and her two children Maddie and Jack. No flowers please. No services are scheduled. Just good memories!
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30, 2015
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