More detail on this person: Nelson Cooper Retired Army Lt. Col. Nelson Cooper, of Fayetteville, a retired Army officer with a passion for his country, his family, his grandchildren and his friends, passed away suddenly of a heart attack Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005, while overseas on a business trip. He was 65. Born in Somerset, Pa., on Sept. 20, 1939, he graduated from Somerset High School in 1957. He received a bachelor's degree in history and economics and a master's degree in business guidance and counseling. He enlisted in the Army in 1959, becoming a commissioned officer in 1961. He served 30 years in the Army. In his early years, he developed a passion for world history and miniature soldiers, ships and planes. His varied military experience included commanding a tank, parachuting, flying helicopters and working on the Army staff at the Pentagon. A veteran of two Vietnam War tours, he was a recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Bronze Stars and 21 Air Medals. He was also awarded the Master Aviator Badge. Following his retirement, Mr. Cooper retained a close association with the military through various organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Military Officers Association of America. Surviving are his loving wife of 47 years, Betty of Fayetteville; son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, Robert, Mila and Christina of Springfield, Va.; son, Nelson of Southern Pines; daughter-in-law, grandson and granddaughter, Ami, Daniel and Katherine of Fayetteville; and his mother, Emily of Somerset. His father, Robert, died serving his country in World War II when Nelson was 4. In the end, the true measure of a man is not the wealth he leaves behind, but the richness of the memories he gave to others. He was a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, cherished friend, boss, co-worker, subordinate, patriot, officer and master Mason. He is deeply loved and missed. The family will receive friends Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, from 1 to 5 p.m. with a service beginning at 5 p.m. at Hauger-Zeigler Funeral Home, 494 W. Main St., Somerset. A Masonic service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home, military honors accorded by the Somerset County Honor Guard. NELSON JAMES COOPER, Age 65, beloved son of Robert Burch & Emily May SMITH COOPER from Somerset, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Somerset High School in 1957. From 1957 to 1959 he attended Carnegie Mellon college in Pittsburgh taking electrical engineering courses. He'd enlist into the U.S. Army in 1959. Later was accepted into the OCS program earning commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. Applying for aviation training, Nelson would be accepted into flight school at Fort Walters, Texas, and then Ft Rucker, Alabama earning his WINGS as a helicopter pilot. He later earned his Master Avaitor Wings flying many missions in the two years he spent in Vietnam. Nelson had also been assigned to the 3rd Calvary when during is tour in Germany during the Berlin Crisis. To further his career, Nelson bootstrapped at the University of Nebraska earning a Bachelor of Science in History & Economics/ He thereafter attended Troy State University in Alabama and earned his Masters Degree in Business Guidance & Counseling. Marrying the former Betty Jane BURK June 7, 1958 in Somerset, the couple would be blessed with two sons, Robert Burch, born in Somerset and Nelson James born in Germany. Moving many different times location to location, Betty COOPER mentioned to this researcher her fondness of having lived near Kaiserslauntern, Germany for two years as the place where their youngest son was born. Nelson's Army career included commanding a tank squadron in the 3rd Armored Calvary. Switching from Armor into Airborne which included parachuting and helicopter pilot training. Completing two tours of Vietnam service, and working on the army staff at the Pentagon, he was a well rounded soldier when he retired at Ft Bragg, NC in 1989. Although offically retired, LtCol Cooper maintained a close association with the military contacts and was on a business trip when his family was advised of his death. NELSON JAMES COOPER's father, Robert Burch Cooper, an Army-Air Corps 2nd Lt Navigator/Bombardier during World War II was one of nine (9) B-24 crew members flying a ferrying mission from Goose Bay, Labrador to Scotland when the aircraft he was flying in went missing in 1943. On the date of his dad's disappearance Nelson was four (4) years old. In 1950 Nelson moved into the Ferner Hotel where he lived with his grand parents Nelson William & Elsie SMITH until after he'd graduated high school in 1957. LTCOL NELSON COOPER's Obituary was published September 1, 2005 in Somersets' Daily America Newspaper. The legacy of a man is his family and children, yet sometimes a well descriptive epilogue can also be more memorable. Nelson's family and close friends composed a befitting rememberance by writing "IN THE END, THE TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN IS NOT THE WEALTH HE LEAVES BEHIND, BUT THE RICHNESS OF THE MEMORIES HE GAVE TO OTHERS". He was a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, cherished friend, patriot, military officer, Mason and honorable human being. May god everlastingly bless his soul.
Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
This information was last updated 09/04/2017
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 08/05/2019
Copyright © 1998 - 2019 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association