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1928 Henry "Hank" 2022

Henry "Hank" Garrett Cooper

January 6, 1928 — February 20, 2022

Henry Garrett Cooper was born on January 6, 1928, in the sleepy little bayou town of Patterson, St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana, which is approx. 90 miles S/W of New Orleans. He was the second of five children born to Bunyan R. Cooper Sr. (an insurance salesman) and Maggie (Garrett) Cooper (a homemaker), and was the namesake of his maternal grandfather Henry Garrett, who died the very same day that little Henry came into this world. Henry had a normal, happy upbringing…as “normal” as can be expected considering he was a Black male child growing up in the segregated Deep South. He graduated from Morgan City Colored High School (now Sumpter Williams High School) in June of 1946.

After briefly attending Southern University in Baton Rouge, Henry decided to venture out West to seek his fortune, arriving in Sacramento in early 1947. Once in Sac Town, young Henry lived with his maternal grandmother while he worked odd jobs and attended City College. Eventually, so as not to be a burden on his grandmother, Henry decided to enlist in the United States Air Force. During his stint in the Air Force and at the height of the Korean War, Henry was trained as a Cryptology Specialist and stationed in such locations as Cheyenne, WY, Honolulu, HI, and Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. After four years of service, he was honorably discharged at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, NE, in May of 1953.

Upon his return to Sacramento, Henry soon met his future bride, Gwendolyn Ann (Brannon) Cooper, through an arranged dinner date orchestrated by his grandmother, Pernella E. “Tootsie” Garrett, and Tootsie’s close confidant, Mrs. Mabel Isaiah. The dinner was held at Mrs. Isaiah’s home, with Gwen’s brother Wayne and his new wife Norma Dean also in attendance. As you might have guessed, Henry and Gwen hit it off at that introductory dinner and were soon inseparable. After the requisite courting period, the two were married in Reno, Washoe County, NV, on June 17, 1955. The union was witnessed by Henry’s older brother, the late B.R. Cooper Jr., and by Mrs. Levarn Doolittle, Gwen’s lifelong friend. Through the good times and the bad, the marriage endured for over 62 years until Gwen’s passing on September 11, 2017.

Whether you knew him as “Hank”, “H.G.”, or just “Cooper”, Henry was a very loving, hard-working, good natured and understanding man who liked to joke around with his friends and family. People seemed to gravitate towards him to seek out his advice and wise counsel. Henry was an avid league bowler who pursued his chosen hobby well into his eighties and enjoyed visiting family and friends when he had time off. He also liked to watch the San Francisco Giants play on television, that is … if they were winning! He retired from the State of California after working for nearly 35 years at the State Printing Plant in Sacramento and was a long standing and faithful member (along with Gwen) of Faith Community United Church of Christ. After a long and fruitful life, Hank passed away peacefully while sleeping in his bed at 7:30pm on February 20, 2022. He was 94 years old and will be sorely missed by family and friends alike.

Henry was preceded in death by his parents Bunyan Sr. and Maggie; his wife Gwendolyn; his older brother Bunyan Jr. (“Bobby”) and Jr.’s wife JoAnn (Mays) Cooper; youngest brother Shedrick; younger sister Thedorial (Cooper) Penick and her ex-husband Don Penick; sister-in-law Lizzie Mae (Grogan) Cooper; brother-in-law Wayne L. Brannon and Wayne’s wife Norma Dean Brannon. He is survived by his children Anthony, Lavinia, and Bernard; his grandchildren Bernard Jr. and Lynse Ann; younger brother Isadore Sr.; sister-in-law Corine (Burt) Cooper; a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, and cousins.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.
~ Matthew 5:4

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Funeral Service Saturday, March 19 1pm with Visitation prior starting at 12pm

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