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Richard Thomas Cooper


1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Richard Thomas Cooper Obituary
June 17, 1923 - March 21, 2016 Richard Thomas Cooper, "Dick," age 92, passed away peacefully of natural causes, surrounded by loved ones, in his San Marino home of 50 years. A lifelong educator and community leader, a 63 year resident of San Marino, Dick was passionate about his family, his career, his love of God and country, and his love of people. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13. A graduate of Manual Arts High School, where he served as Boy's League President, Student Body President, and a member of the championship football team, he entered Occidental College in 1941. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he entered the US Marine Corps, serving from 1941-1948 in the Pacific with the First Marine Air Wing. Returning to Occidental, he completed his Bachelor's Degree in 1948. During that time he met his future wife, Mary Catherine, a 17-year old freshman. They married in 1950 following her graduation. He went on to USC, obtaining his Master's Degree in 1950 and a doctorate in 1976. He began his long, distinguished career in public education in 1948, serving the Los Angeles Unified School District in a variety of capacities: teacher and coach, principal of 2 junior high schools, returned to his alma mater, Manual Arts High School, to replace his former principal, assistant superintendent, secondary schools in San Fernando Valley, Legislative Advocate for LAUSD in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., followed by Superintendence of various areas throughout the city, primarily in the inner city, from 1971 to 1982. In 1980-81, he was elected President of the Association of California School Administrators. In 1982 he retired from LAUSD and returned to Occidental College as Assistant to the President, Director of Endowment Development. Leaving Occidental in 1993, he accepted the position of Western Regional Vice-President of an educational software company based in Atlanta, Georgia. His involvements included: founding member and member of the National Board of Directors of the U.S. Academic Decathlon, serving until his death, President of the San Marino City Club in 1973-74, Trustee of the San Marino Schools Foundation, and San Marino Rotary. Memberships included : Associates of the California Institute of Technology, Fellow, Huntington Library, President's Circle of Huntington Hospital, the Valley Hunt Club, Presidential Associate and Widney Society member at U.S.C., and Ben Culley Society, Occidental College. Dick is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Mary Catherine, 3 daughters, Catherine Cridland, Cynthia Cooper, and Jennifer Cooper, 4 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at San Marino Community Church, 1750 Virginia Road, at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. A reception will follow. Contributions may be made in Dick's name to the Doheny Eye Institute or Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Apr. 24, 2016
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