Funeral services for Donald Claire Cooper, 82, of Pelham, GA, Grady County, are at 3:00 p.m., Monday, December 2, 2013, at Pine Level Baptist Church, Cairo, GA. Rev. Neal Hager and Rev. David Pickering will officiate. Interment will be in Macedonia Church Cemetery. Mr. Cooper passed away at Archbold Medical Center, Thomasville, GA, on Friday, November 29, 2013.
Active pallbearers will be Jared Powell, Keith Webb, Chase Bolton, Cooper Bolton, Robby Dollar, Chandler Dollar and Collin Dollar. Honorary pallbearers will be Grady EMC Directors, Grady County Farm Bureau Directors, the Macedonia Men's Sunday School Class, Renley Bustle, Brian Bustle, and Tab Bustle. Mr. Cooper was born on December 9, 1930, in Thomas County, GA, to the late Alton B. Cooper and Grace Pelham Cooper. He attended Spence School. He served as President of the Cairo High School chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA) for two years. In 1948, he received the Georgia Planter Award, the highest state award of the FFA. He was then eligible to attain the superlative national award, the American Farmer Degree in Kansas City, KS, and in 1951, he was the first Grady County FFA member to do so.
On March 15, 1953, he married Tommie Jean McDaniel Cooper, who survives. After serving his country in the U.S. Army, he began his farming career. His first life experience was farming with his father. He owned land that he bought as a young farmer starting his career, his father and father-in-law's farms and several other surrounding farms. His major crops through the years included corn, peanuts, tobacco, and cotton. Other farm land includes several farm ponds and pastures. He was a member of Macedonia Baptist Church, ordained as deacon in 1958, serving as active deacon, served as Sunday School Teacher, Chairman of Deacons, Church Treasurer, member of church choir and Pulpit Committee, and Member of Grady County Baptist Association Executive Committee. His memberships include: Grady County Farm Bureau, member since 1965, serving as Director and as Vice President from 1980 through 2009; American Legion Post 122, Cairo; former member of Farmer's Home Administration; former member of ASCS (Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service); former president of Farmer's Mutual Exchange; Shiver Elementary School Trustee from 1965 - 1975; and the Grady County Historical Society. He served on the Soil Conservation Service Committee. He was chosen Pelham Chamber of Commerce Farmer of the Year 1981. He was a member of the Cairo - Grady County Chamber of Commerce Member, served as chairman of Agriculture Committee in 1985. He and his family were Chosen Farm Family of the Year in 1985. He began serving as Director of Grady Electric Membership Cooperative on October 29th, 1971. He had continuously been re-elected to that position and served as board chairman. Mr. Cooper served on the Oglethorpe Power Board of Directors for 40 years. He holds the award for the longest tenure of any director for Oglethorpe Power. He had actively served on various committees throughout the years to further serve his position as a Cooperator - not only in the electric industry, but in farming, school, community and church related activities. His passion in the electric industry was to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to receive electric power with the lowest rates and the best service possible. His services to his country, leadership skills, hard work and caring for his community and the environment were remarkable. He was a great asset to our community and state. His quite mannerism of service coupled with hard work and vision for a better world made him an honorable nominee for the 2011 Distinguished Cooperator Award presented by the Georgia Cooperative Council. Survivors include: wife, Tommie Jean McDaniel Cooper of Pelham, GA; children and spouses, Donna and Richard Powell of Pelham, GA, Camille and Jon Bolton of Pelham, GA, Jan and Bobby Dollar of Thomasville, GA; grandchildren and spouses, Andrea and Keith Webb of Thomasville, GA, Jared and Kelly Powell of Marietta, GA, Chase and Anna Bolton of Wake Forest, NC, Cooper Bolton of Rossville, GA, Jenna Bolton of Atlanta, GA, Robby Dollar of Tallahassee, FL, Chandler Dollar and Collin Dollar, both of Thomasville, GA; great-grandchildren, Ayden Webb and Spencer Webb of Thomasville, GA; sister, Darlene McGlamry of Centerville, GA; and sisters-in-law, Juanita Cooper of Cairo, GA, Carolyn Harper of Covington, GA. He was preceded in death by: his parents, brothers, Wendell Y. Cooper and Thomas “Tommy” J. Cooper. Memorials may be made in Mr. Cooper's memory to: Georgia Baptist Children's Home, 9420 Blackshear Hwy, Baxley, GA 31513; the Macedonia Baptist Church Perpetual Cemetery Fund, c/o Georgia Baptist Foundation, 4415 Frazier Circle, Tifton, GA 31793; Lewis Hall Oncology Center, Archbold Foundation, 910 South Broad Street, Thomasville, GA 31792. The family will receive friends at Clark Funeral Home on Sunday, December 1, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Guests may sign the online register at www.clarkfuneral.com.