C. Darwin Cooper, 80, of Campton Township, passed away at his home, surrounded by the love of his family, Saturday, May 16, 2009.
He was born in Belvidere, Ill., on July 20, 1928. Darwin attended public schools until his junior year of high school. He then attended and graduated from a private school, Wheaton College Academy. During his elementary and secondary school years, he excelled in basketball, cornet in the high school band, and studied piano.
He developed his piano skills throughout his lifetime, and it was a source of many hours of enjoyment. Classical music played a very significant part of Darwinâ€™s life that evolved into his love for symphonic music, opera and recitals. At retirement, he learned how to play a pipe organ and installed a full-size, three-rank pipe organ in his basement.
He graduated from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., in 1950 and majored in education. During his college years, he was proficient in basketball and baseball.
He was united in marriage to Pauline Blomberg on Sept. 12, 1951.
Upon graduation, he taught junior high and high school for six years in Illinois and Iowa. In addition to teaching several classes, Darwin became principal during his third year at a school in Savanna, Ill. He also had unique experiences in a small consolidated school in Iowa, grades 1-12, where he taught history, English, coached boys basketball and baseball. He also coached girls basketball, which was very popular in Iowa at that time. Never one to sit idle, he also directed the high school band and taught private piano lessons.
After six years of teaching, Darwin turned to the business world for employment. He worked 10 years for Automatic Electric Company, part of GTE, in Northlake, Ill. There he served as manager for the Customer Order Processing Department. Later, he began working with National Starch and Chemical Company, where he worked for 24 years until his retirement in January of 1991. His position at National Starch was very challenging as well as rewarding and involved managing 10 customer service and sales offices in the Midwest and the West Coast.
Darwin was a lifelong practicing committed Christian. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake for 40 years, where he served in many leadership roles, including church council, finance and adult education. He also sang tenor in the choir.
Darwin was a person with many passions and achievements. One unusual accomplishment was that he built his own family home. He did 90 percent of the work himself during nine months in 1964, all while working full time at a challenging job.
At the early age of 11 he developed a life long passion for railroading, and took many photographs and collected a large amount of railroad materials and publications, especially during the age of steam. He researched railroad history and published the findings in six railroad historical society magazines.
The study of history was always a passion, especially American history and specifically Abraham Lincoln. His library consisted of volumes of books and included the most ever written about Lincoln in the past 50 years.
Darwin considered the last 15 years of his life to be the most rewarding of all. It was during this time that he was awakened to the fact that his faith demanded concern for the disadvantaged persons in our world and to advocate for them in the public policy arena. This resulted in many editorials in the papers and visits to his legislators. He was particularly proud of his involvement in the establishment of Lutheran Advocacy, which is an attempt to awaken Lutherans in their responsibilities to put their faith in action and to advocate for public policies to aid the disadvantaged.
Above all else, his family will miss him as a loving husband and father and the integral part he played in his loving close knit family.
He now leaves his loving wife of 57 years, Pauline Cooper; three children, David Cooper and his wife, Eileen Conway of Fairfax, Va., Phillip Cooper and his life partner, Susan Urban of St. Charles, and Jonathan Cooper and his wife, Kris Cooper, of St. Charles; five grandchildren, Erin, Rhiannon, Jeremy, David and Sarah; one sister Iona Sunden of Coloma, Wis., nieces, nephews and a family of friends.
He now joins his parents, Clarence and Mildred (Fonken) Cooper, who preceded him in death.
Visitation was Tuesday, May 19, at Grace Lutheran Church, Lily Lake. A memorial service was held following visitation. Rev. Ernst Rex, pastor of the church, officiated. Private family interment was held following cremation.
For those who were unable to attend the service, a video of the service is available at www.conleycare.com. For more information, please call Conley Funeral Home at (630) 365-6414.
A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the Darwin Cooper Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through www.conleycare.com.