Springfield businessman Harry Cooper died Sunday at the age of 91. Cooper’s old business partner Stephen Reagan said Cooper died in his sleep.
James Henry (Harry) Cooper, son of J. H. G. and Mildred Cooper, was born in Springfield, Missouri on December 18, 1926. After graduation from High School he received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1951, and served on the USS Waldron until being accepted for flight training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. He completed flight training and served as a naval aviator from 1953 until his discharge from the Navy in 1956.
After leaving the military, he returned to Springfield and joined his father and his brother in the family's business interests, including Harry Cooper Supply Company, Independent Broadcasting Company (KOLR 10) and the Springfield Flying Service as well as several other privately held businesses. The family sold its interest in KOLR in 1998, and over the past few years, Harry gradually turned day to day operation of the family businesses over to his nephew, John T. Cooper. At the time of his death he still served as Chairman of the Board of the family businesses and served as a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs Trust Fund and Advisory Board.
The Cooper family has been interested in amateur athletics for many years and has made contributions to Springfield soccer and tennis programs for all ages. Harry has been interested in the advancement of programs including the Lakes Country Youth Soccer program and the college soccer programs at both Missouri State University and Drury.
In addition to amateur athletics, Harry retained his love of aviation throughout his life. He began flying at age sixteen and flew up until his death.
Mr. Cooper was preceded in death by his parents, J. H. G. and Mildred Cooper, his brother, John O. Cooper, and his son Mark Christian Cooper.