Obituary of Gregory Thomas Cooper
Gregory Thomas Cooper was born in St. Louis, MO on November 28, 1946 to Gloria and Thomas Cooper. He was an adored grandson of Dell and Art Kiechle – a love that was a two-way street. Greg grew up with independence and an inherent love for the outdoors. As a child, he loved to hike, fish, and hunt – hobbies that continued throughout his life. He marveled often at God’s creation and seldom failed to point out a beautiful sunset or to smell a blooming flower. At the age of nineteen, Greg joined the Marines and served bravely in Vietnam, an experience that deeply shaped him and the direction of his life. Greg was a lifelong student of chemical engineering and was the CEO of five different chemical companies over the course of his career. The list of companies he ran and improved is long and distinguished. The culmination of his professional experiences was the formation of Cooper Natural Resources (CNR), which he founded in 1996 and ran until the day he passed from this earth. Greg’s vision, bravery, and competitive nature were hallmarks of his leadership style, which he shared whether you liked it or not. To this end, Greg spent his life teaching and mentoring others. He was focused on making those around him better and forming a team that was greater and more effective than the sum of its parts – another valuable lesson that he attributed to being a Marine. While Greg was known for having and using a sharp tongue on occasion, he was also known for his quick wit, almost inadvertent – but constant – wisdom, and sincere love and affection for those in his charge. While Greg Cooper did not suffer fools gladly, if you were fortunate to be on his team, there was no one better to have on your side. No one. Greg surrounded himself with the most competent and loyal people he could find. But above all the traits that one must have exhibited to be welcomed into his circle, was trust. He often said that “Trust is earned; never freely given.” To have earned Greg Cooper’s trust was a life goal in and of itself. Over the years, Greg worked with those he considered friends, as he cared as much about their families as he did about them as individuals. But no member of his team brought him more joy than having the honor to work side-by-side with his ever-loyal and loving daughter, Genevieve, for the last five years. While Greg was known by many as a tough, smart, and driven CEO, he will be remembered by those closest to him for his unceasing love, support, and devotion to his family. His wife, Susan, of 51 years was, as Greg put it in his recent Thanksgiving prayer, “the glue that held the family together.” They were a formidable team who talked and loved and laughed together on a daily basis. Despite his great successes, without doubt, Greg’s greatest legacy and contribution to this world was his daughters Carey and Genevieve. His love for them – and theirs for him – was unmatched. There was simply not a thing he would not do for his girls, or them for him. This love and devotion extended to his two “adopted” sons -- his German son, Toby Hanrath, whom he referred to as “The Germ,” and his son-in-law, Alex, who learned more about business from his father-in-law than anyone else on earth. Greg’s love for and pride in them was clear to anyone with whom he spoke. Greg’s second act came with the birth of his three grandchildren, John Cooper, Joseph Andrew, and Vivian Elizabeth. He didn’t merely love them; he invested in them. He gave his time and attention to them. He encouraged them. He taught them. He corrected them. In return, they saw him as their hero – which he was. But if you wanted to see Greg melt, you had to witness him trying to read “The Children’s Hour” each Christmas Eve to the ever-watchful eyes and ears eagerly awaiting the first of many cracks in his voice. While he never once got through it without crying, these moments left an indelible impression on anyone lucky enough to be in the room on those December nights. Despite his rough exterior, it was in those moments that the essence of Greg Cooper was revealed. While we miss him dearly, we shall keep our husband, daddy, Popi, brother, and friend in our hearts forever; yes, forever and a day… Greg is survived by his wife, Susan; daughters, Carey and Genevieve; brother, Jerry and his children, Ben and Jordan; German son, Tobias, his wife Rachel and children Max and Paia; son-in-law, Alex; grandchildren John, Joseph, and Vivian; and sister and brother-in-law, Evelyn and Jim Cunningham, and many other extended family members and friends. Memorial Service: 2 p.m. Friday, December 4, 2020, at Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76132. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to two organizations that were near and dear to Greg’s heart and to which he gave of his time and treasure, Cowtown Warriors and the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. For Cowtown Warriors, visit www.cowtownwarriors.com and click the donate button, or a check can be sent to: Cowtown Warriors, PO Box 1295, Fort Worth, TX 76102. For the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, visit www.spwrc.org, or a check can be sent to 3308 95th Street, Lubbock, TX 79423.