MADISON/MIDDLETON-Robert Ames Cooper died on March 12, 2017 with his wife of 67 years at his side. Bob was born the second son of Lucille Campbell and Earl John Cooper on November 11, 1926 in Evanston, IL. Bob attended Evanston Township High School, graduating in 1944 and immediately joined the Navy where he spent 18 months in the South Seas as a Midshipman and Ensign. He was at Iwo Jima as part of a support mission to secure the Island after the initial battles. He was proud of his service overseas, however like most he did not speak much of it; always saying it was a privilege to serve.
During the war, his father Earl died and after the war, Bob returned to the city of Madison while his mother Lucille had taken a job as a Professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. Bob received his degree in Finance from the UW where he also discovered the two loves of his life - the stock market and Helen Meanwell, affectionately known as 'Honner'. They courted while teaching and lifeguarding at the Shorewood Hills Beach, claiming she was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen; they later married January 28, 1950. Additionally, he fell in love with her parents, "Doc" (Walter E) Meanwell and Helen Gath Meanwell, whom he fondly called "The Chief" or "Chiefy" ("when she says jump, I say how high?"). From this little antidote alone, you can tell he was also a very smart man.
Bob started the Madison branch of the brokerage AC Allyn Company from the basement of his house, and later started the Madison office of Blunt Ellis Lowie & Company. He stayed there for 20 years; much of that time as a member of the Board of Directors and manager of the Madison office. The last half of his career took him to The Milwaukee Company, headquartered in Milwaukee, where he was President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board for one of the last successful regional brokerage companies in the country. In 1988 he merged The Milwaukee Company with Dain Bosworth Rauscher, where he remained on the Board of Directors and a Regional Director.
Bob will always be remembered as a natural leader. He served as a board member of the Midwest Stock Exchange, Plexus Corporation, M&I Bank, Maple Bluff Country Club, and Bando McGlocklin among others. He was president of Maple Bluff Village Board and the Pelican Isle Association Board. However, what he spoke most about was his long association with the United Way of Dane County, where he was a board member and Fund Raising Chair in the late 1960's. When he talked about the campaign, he always ended the conversation with, "we surpassed our goal".
In addition to the board and leadership positions, Bob was a member of countless organizations, from head of Sessions at Covenant Presbyterian Church, to a member of the Olbrich Botanical Society, Madison Opera, Naples Botanical Society, Civic Music Association, Naples Philharmonic, and of course a member of the least well known, but most beloved infamous barbershop quartet, 'The Presbytones'.
Bob's family and friends will always remember the twinkle in his blue eyes, his ability to talk and relate to anyone, his honesty and integrity, his outlandish birthday celebrations, and the pleasure he got from both giving and receiving good-natured (and sometimes slightly off color) ribbing and practical jokes. His social network was wide; friends entended from lifelong college and old Madison friends, to the newer friends he met and so appreciated from the 20 years they spent wintering at their condo at Pelican Isle in Naples, Florida.
It is said one of the greatest gifts a father can give his children is to truly love their mother, and that he certainly did. The two of them did everything together - - from entertaining, to taking up skiing in their mid-40's. But they also enjoyed the quiet times camping with the family at the lake in northern Wisconsin and countless summer days and nights at their beloved Lake Mendota cottage.
Bob was preceded in death by his brother Jack Cooper and is survived by his wife Helen (Honner) Meanwell Cooper, his son Scott and Liz (Philosophos) Cooper, daughter Carol and husband Tim Brennan, grandsons Seth Cooper (Cori), Birk Cooper (Kristin), Reed Cooper (Jillian), Cale Cooper, Brian Brennan, Michael Brennan, and great grandchildren Chloe, Finn, and Genova Cooper.
Bob will be fondly remembered for this and much more, and will be truly missed by all who knew him.
6021 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
Growing up just down the street, the Coopers gave me my first lawn job as a kid. Bob Cooper was a kind man with a great sense of humor. I remember going to his cottage on Lake Mendota each spring to help get the property ready for the summer. He'd grill burgers for lunch and made it feel like I was part of the family. My condolences to Honner, Scott, and all the family.
What a wonderful man! Bob was my neighbor for 14 years in Maple Bluff, and we jointly owned a parcel of land adjoining our houses. He was dedicated to his community, and he stayed in Madison even when the assumed leadership of a large company based in Milwaukee. I will always remember him fondly, and I will miss him! -- Terry Haller
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