MISSOULA — April 19, 1934 - May 28, 2018
“Eighteen Wheels and A Dozen Roses” is what the angels sang as they welcomed our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend, Sam, through the gates of heaven on Memorial Day 2018.
Sam was born in Fishtail to parents Homer and Laura Cooper. He attended grade school in Dean and high school in Absarokee. He grew up helping on the family ranch. In 1951, he enlisted in the Army and served in South Korea with the 25th Division until Sept. 18, 1954. During this time he began writing to a friend’s sister and upon his discharge, he hitchhiked to Clinton to meet Mary Lou Ailport. They married on Oct. 2, 1954. They were together for 62 years until Mary Lou’s passing in July 2017.
Sam started logging in the late 50s with Long Logging Inc. and later became self-employed. He owned logging trucks and a loader and worked with Columbia Helicopters of Oregon for several years. He loved working in the woods and never got a single tick! He later did cross-country hauling with a “low-boy”. He boasted about having five million miles under his belt and could tell you what exit to take for gas anywhere in the USA.
Sam and Mary Lou were active in their four daughters’ lives. He loved to watch football on Sundays. He loved to fish Puget Sound and drove to Alaska twice for halibut fishing. He was an excellent cribbage player and enjoyed fast games of pinochle with family! He was a lifetime member of the VFW Post 209 in Missoula, held numerous leadership positions, and worked diligently to raise money to benefit disabled American Veterans. Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin cookies were his favorite and Mom always had a good supply on hand!
He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, parents-in-law Glenn and Elsie Ailport, brother John, sister Betty, brothers-in-law Theodore, Arthur, and Thomas, and sons-in-law James Thiele and Duane Carlton. His daughter Glenda (Cooper) Thiele passed away three days after him on May 31, 2018.
He is survived by daughters Cindy Carlton, Patti Jo Loewen (Robert Jackson), Beth Cooper, brother Pete Cooper, sister Clara Torczon, sister in-law Martha Cooper, sisters- in-law Joanne (Howard) Long, Rose Ann Torrance, Nancy (Charlie) Rodgers, brothers- in-law Larry(Barbara ) Ailport, Tim Ailport, Bobby Gene (Joann) Ailport, grandchildren Clint (Jessica) Carlton, Kat Carlton, Matthew Thiele (Elonda), Meggan (Joey) Edwards, Frank Loewen (Katie B), Coltan Cooper-Davis, eight great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A special thank you to friends and family Garrett, Ken, Jim and Faye, Jack and Susan, Sonny and Bobbie, Charlie, Nancy, Kreg and Julie for their regular visits over the last five months! Sam passed peacefully at home. His family would like to express a heart-felt appreciation for the love, care and skills shared with him by the amazing support teams of Partners in Home Care and Harvest Home Care, his sister Clara and daughters Beth and Cindy with constant support from Glen and Patti.
Services will be held at Garden City Funeral Home on Broadway and Mullan Road at 2 p.m. June 20, 2018, with refreshments and snacks to follow.