— Charles "Gene" Cooper, 1st Sgt. U.S.M.C. retired, of Clayton died Wednesday. He was 84.
He was born Jan. 12, 1928, on the family farm in Stilesville.
Mr. Cooper joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1944 at the age of 17. He joined his six brothers and six brothers-in-law who were serving in both The Pacific and European Theaters of Operation during World War II. During his 25 years of service in the Marine Corps he served in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. His tours of duty were extensive traveling throughout the world. He was the gunnery sergeant of Marine Barracks 8th & I Washington, D.C.; and was the acting sergeant major Marine Air Wing Marble Mount Vietnam, where he earned seven air medals with a Combat "V" device. During his combat tour, while conducting helicopter resupply and medevac missions, he was shot down three times and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received by indirect fire.
Upon retirement from the corps, he moved his family back to Indiana where he worked and retired from the United States Postal Service. He also drove a school bus for the Mill Creek Community School Corporation for 20 years and was care taker of the Stilesville Cemetery and on the board of trustees of the cemetery for 31 years.
His memberships included American Legion Post No. 64, of which he was a lifetime member, and Hazelwood Christian Church.
Mr. Cooper and his wife had two daughters and four sons. His sons all served in the U.S. military.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Ernestine "Ernie" (Hampton) Cooper; children Charles (Betty), Sherry (Arthur) Douville , Courtney (Sharon), Vickie (Ralph) Whitaker, Jeffrey (Joy), and Eric (Trisha); 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Kathleen Davis.
Services are 10:30 a.m. Monday at Hazelwood Christian Church, 9947 S. C.R. 0. Interment will be at Stilesville Cemetery.
Calling at the church is from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Hampton-Gentry Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Memorial may be made to Alzheimer's Association.
Online condolences may be sent to the Cooper family at www.hamptongentry.com.