Dennis Warren Cooper, 70, died October 29, 2013 after a 2 year battle with Leukemia. Dennis was born on October 16, 1943 in Lapeer, Michigan and lived in a number of other states, including Texas, growing up. He was a celebrated high school athlete at Ionia High School in Ionia, Michigan – Quarterbacking the football team, as well as playing basketball and golf. Dennis graduated valedictorian of his class and went on to attend the University of Michigan and married his high-school sweetheart, Sharianne Geisel Cooper. Although the marriage ended, Dennis and Shari had a daughter, Teresa Lee Cooper Walden, born in 1964. Dennis transferred his family to Austin in 1966, where he continued his studies at the University of Texas. He received a B.S. in mathematics and a M.B.A in finance, and also completed all of his course work for a Ph.D. Following his studies, Dennis remained in Austin and had a successful career that included much time spent in real estate and finance, including serving as Executive Vice President and CFO of Schlotzsky's, Inc. Dennis enjoyed eating at the original Schlotzsky's on South Congress Avenue, a local favorite, prior to its transformation into a global retail food chain.
In 1991, Dennis went to run a marathon in Honolulu, HI and decided to move there for a Hawaiian adventure that lasted 16 years. Dennis loved his time in Hawaii and lived just blocks away from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in Kailua, HI, and the infamous Kalapawai Market. Dennis' passion was Scuba Diving and he served as a Dive Master for locals and tourists for over 500 dives. He also fulfilled a dream of traveling and diving in the Fuji islands. Dennis worked as a Mortgage Broker for Mid-Pacific Mortgage. Through his work, he made a number of friends, including local realtors, who were dear to him. While living in Hawaii, Dennis enjoyed serving as host and tour guide to his daughter and siblings, and their families, who traveled to see the beautiful islands.
Dennis' other interests and hobbies included watching Texas football and men's basketball, and UT and UofH women's volleyball and basketball. He jogged regularly on the Austin Hike and Bike Trail during the 80's, and also enjoyed reading, music and sports cars. Early in life, he owned a Nash Metropolitan and from there he went on to own a Ford Mustang, Jaguar, Camaro, two Corvettes, a Mazda Miata, and most recently a Mini-Cooper convertible. Dennis also enjoyed any time spent on water. In addition to the time he spent on Austin's lakes and Hawaii's beaches, he enjoyed visits with his siblings on Lower Cullen Lake in Minnesota and at the beach in Rockport, Texas.
Dennis was proud of being a grandfather to his two grandsons, Ryan Tucker Walden and Michael Cooper Walden. He was known as "Grandpa Coop" to them and traveled numerous times from Hawaii to attend christenings and other events, and to spend time playing with them. Dennis retired to Steiner Ranch in Austin, Texas in 2007 in order to be closer to his daughter and grandsons. He enjoyed playing and swimming with the boys and attending their sports and band activities. His other 2 loves were his adopted cats, Wookie and Henry.
Dennis is survived by his daughter and grandsons, sister Nancy Gail Cooper Duggan, brother Larry George Cooper and his wife Judy, brother Douglas Arthur Cooper and his wife Linda, sister-in-law Gayle Ahlgreen Cooper, and numerous nieces, nephews, and other family. He was pre-deceased in death by his father, Dr. Randall Eugene Cooper, his mother, Kella Eddy Cooper, his brother, Randall Eugene Cooper, Jr., his nephew Craig Wilson Cooper, and his brother-in-law, Edmund Buchwalter Duggan, II.
The family wishes to thank all of the nurses and staff on the 7th floor Oncology wing of Seton Medical Center, his Oncologist Dr. Jerry Fain and his staff, his General Practitioner Dr. Claudia Legere and her staff, and the care-givers and staff from Right at Home and Odyssey Hospice. This terrific team combined to provide Dennis with outstanding and loving medical and in-home care through the duration of his illness. Their outstanding efforts enabled him to fulfill his wish to die in the comfort of his home, with his family and kitties present.
A memorial service honoring Dennis will be held Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. at Cook-Walden Chapel of the Hills Funeral Home, 9700 Anderson Mill Rd.
In lieu of flowers, Dennis requested that contributions be made to Austin Pets Alive! www.austinpetsalive.org
, or a shelter of your choice that does not euthanize animals.