Donald “Don” Coops, 91, passed away Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 at the Lake District Hospital in Lakeview.
He was born in Napa, Calif. on Feb. 24, 1922. Don was the second son of Harold Van Coops and Dorothy Dobbel Coops. He was raised in Sonoma, Calif. on the Coops Brothers Orchards and Packing Plant in Vineburg. Don was not to follow in his father’s footsteps, however. As a little boy, he had a horse long before he was tall enough to climb in the saddle and he demonstrated a complete indifference toward all things mechanical! From the time he helped his grandfather handle draft horses and cattle, his strong bond with animals never waned.
Don attended Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, and Utah State, and was a WWII veteran, having served in the infantry, Horse Cavalry, Air Corps and as an Artillery Officer.
He married Rose Marie Freemyer on June 5, 1944 at Camp Shelby, Miss., and in 1945 their son Tom was born. In 1948, they moved to the Flat Creek Ranch near Orvada, Nev. He learned to run cattle on the open range, a life he loved for the next 65 years. In 1954, daughter Teresa was born in Reno, Nev. and in 1956, after managing others’ ranches for many years, Don and Rose Marie bought the Cloud Ranch and moved their family to Surprise Valley.
After years of raising and putting up hay for his cattle, he purchased a winter range near Frenchman Station, east of Fallon, Nev. He loved to say he didn’t have “welfare cattle”, because they never ate hay. They ran on open range both winter and summer.
Don enjoyed wide open spaces, sagebrush and good cattle. He was more at home in solitude, riding his horse on the range near the Bitner Ranch, than he was working with people, but he could also be very effective working with others when it was something he believed in. He helped to start the Lamb Wool Pool, was on the Soil Conservation District Board, the local school board, PCA Board, held offices in the Cattleman’s Assoc., and was one of the founders of “Range” magazine.
In later years, Jan’s Hearth (which he affectionately called “The Office”), became his home away from home where he could often be found shootin’ the breeze with fellow ranchers.
Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife Rose Marie; parents Harold and Dorothy; brother Harold.
He is survived by son and daughter-in-law Tom and Kathy; daughter and son-in-law Teresa and Bob Squires; brother William; sister Catherine; grandson Jonathan; granddaughters Laura and Christina; six great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 at the Community Church in Cedarville, Calif. Burial will be in the Cedarville Cemetery with Military Honors. Following the burial a pot luck dessert will be held in the Church Fellowship Hall.
Contributions in Don’s memory may be made to the Range Conservation Foundation, c/o Ed Depaoli, P.O. Box 1595, Carson City, Nev. 89702 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Desert Rose Funeral of Lakeview is in charge of the arrangements.