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George, passed away peacefully on July 10, 2023, at the Okeechobee Health Care Facility in Okeechobee, Florida. He was a resident of Okeechobee for 41 years.
George was born in Miami, Florida, on December 10, 1936, to George H. Cooper, Sr. and Virginia (Sickle) Cooper, both of whom preceded him in death.
He graduated from South Dade High School in 1954 and received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Florida in 1958.
George then entered the U.S. Army and graduated from Army Flight School and Army Helicopter School before serving in Vietnam for one year. George served on the US Army pistol team and traveled all over the world competing and winning many competitions. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain in 1963 and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster while serving in the military. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Mary Beth (Fry) Cooper, of Okeechobee, Florida, and the mother
of his children, JoAnn Cooper, of Melbourne, FL. In addition, he leaves behind his four children, Mark Cooper (Susan) of Loxahatchee, FL, Jean (Cooper) Soto (Jose) of Melbourne, FL, Cay (Cooper) Batchelor (Rick) of Stuart, FL, and Glenn Cooper of Sebring, FL. He is also survived by his three stepchildren, Harold (Trey) Price (Tara), of Tallahassee, FL, Jeffery Price (Jennifer) of Orlando, FL, and Mary Kay (Price) Digirolamo (Gene) of Okeechobee, FL. He also leaves behind 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren as well as two nephews and two nieces. George is additionally survived by his only sibling, Barbara (Cooper) Hanck, of Homestead, FL.
Upon being discharged from the Army, George returned to Homestead, Florida, where he went to work in the farm machinery business which was founded by his father in 1938. He became President of Glade & Grove Supply in 1967 and purchased the company from his father in 1972. From then until 2013, George acquired two new dealerships in Belle Glade and Immokalee. His sons continue to expand the family business today.
Most of George’s community service took place in Homestead, Florida, where George was raised and lived until 1983. He was a beloved scoutmaster to Troup 69 and is still fondly remembered by the young men he molded from 1964-1971. He was very proud that the troop produced several Eagle Scouts. He was also very active in the Jaycees, serving as President of the local chapter and going on to become a director of the Florida Jaycees, and a director of the national United States Jaycees.
George served on several Dade County boards, including the Dade County Community Relations Board, the Dade County Farm Bureau, Dade County Agricultural Land Planning Committee, and the Orange Bowl Committee. Hewas also a director of the Community Bank of Florida, and a founding director of Big Lake National Bank in Okeechobee.
During their years together, George and Mary Beth traveled extensively both in the United States and other countries. They enjoyed hunting together and planning many family trips with their children and grandchildren. But mostly they enjoyed their ranch here in Okeechobee. Dark Hammock Ranch has provided many wonderful memories for the family, where they have gathered for many years at holidays as well as weddings and birthday parties.
George was a talented cook and enjoyed feeding crowds of people his famous prime rib. He was also a skilled wood worker and made many cherished items he shared with family members and friends.
The family wishes to thank George’s many nurses and aides at the Okeechobee Health Care Facility who gave him such excellent love and care.
A celebration of George’s life will be held at a later date. The family is requesting that donations in George’s memory be made to Hospice of Okeechobee, P.O. Box 1548, Okeechobee, Florida, 34973, or the charity of your choice.
Those wishing to leave a message of condolence may sign the register book at, www. OkeechobeeFuneralHome. com
All arrangements are entrusted to the direction and care of the Buxton & Bass Okeechobee Funeral Home, 400 North Parrott Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida, 34972.