On August 15th, 2011 we celebrated the 80th birthday of my Grandpa, W.C., Cooper. My Grandpa, who grew up poor in Alabama, moved to Ohio in his early twenties, married my Grandma and settled down to raise 4 kids on an income he earned working a factory job. My Grandpa, who had 49 years of memories before he became my Grandpa in 1980. My Grandpa, who carries many titles, but to us 14 grandkids & 12 great-grandkids he’s known as “Papa”.
My Papa, who has the lightest set of blue-grey eyes you’ve ever seen, sits on his porch faithfully and waves to all passerby’s. He knows the mail-lady by name and knows her story, as he does everyone who stops by for a visit. Whether he’s out camping, at church, eating breakfast (lunch or dinner) at his favorite restaurants (McDonalds, Bob Evans, & Chris’), he always makes the time to sit down and chat with you. My Grandma has pictures of every single one of the grandkids, in some cases great-grandkids, asleep on my Papa’s lap. He’s pulled grandkids in wagons, broken up fights, wiped tears, carved turkeys, loaned money, fixed cars & toys, offered advice, & each day of his life, has loved every one of us since his grandkids started being born. He loves to laugh, loves to tell jokes, is laid-back and easy-going, but is stubborn when his mind is made up. He loves his wife of 50-plus years & has stood by her side through good and bad times, standing strong during her 4 battles of cancer; one time, when he himself, was battling his own fight. He loves the Lord, being in his presence you know he’s one of God’s living angels, the epitome of “quiet faith”. He’s the type of man who has buried both his parents (his mother passing away when he was 2 years old), his step-mom, & every one of his brothers and sisters, but knows he’ll see them again one day. He’s lived in Ohio for 60-some years, but still refers to Alabama as his “home” and would pick the Crimson Tide over the Buckeyes in any match up game.
He’s a pillar of strength and security, never wavering with his dedication to the loyalty of his family. My memories of my papa span only 31 years, but long after he’s gone, and long after I’m gone, the traits and morals that he’s instilled will continue to be passed down throughout our family. His legacy is love.
I believe his best years are ahead of him. 80 is the new 60!