Duane G. Cooper, 78, Ludington

May 27, 2020

Duane Cooper

Duane G. Cooper, 78, Ludington

Duane G. Cooper, 78, of Ludington, passed away at his home surrounded by family on Sunday, May 24, 2020. Duane was born in Ludington, on August 8, 1941, to LaVerne and Helen (Wagner) Cooper. Duane graduated from Ludington High School in 1960, and then attended Michigan State University where he was on the boxing team. After his mother passed away, Duane left school to help with his family.

In 1962, Duane enlisted in the US Navy. From 1962 through 1966. Duane, a sailor on the USS Barry DD-933, traveled around the world twice, crossed the equator, crossed the Arctic Circle, and fought bravely in the Vietnam War. Duane was proud to have served his country. In 2002, he had the opportunity to visit his Navy ship while it was stationed as a floating museum in Washington, D.C. Later in life, Duane especially was appreciative of gatherings honoring Veterans, and actively participated in military remembrance events. He was happy to still fit into his uniform after all those years.

After serving his country, Duane returned home to Ludington where he met Leslie Ann Harrington. Duane and Leslie were married on April 19, 1969, and spent 51 wonderful years together, during which they raised five boys, known affectionately around Ludington as “The Cooper Boys.”

Duane spent nearly 45 years as a salesman for his father-in-law’s business, Harrington Tool Company. He traveled the midwest, making friends at every stop. He thrived as a salesman because he loved social interaction and would talk to anyone.

Duane had many hobbies and was active in the community. He was a long-time member and former President of the Western Michigan Old Engine Club, the first FFA President in Mason County, a trustee for Summit Township, and a 4-H leader for many years. With his sons, he started Cooper and Sons Pedal Tractor Pullers, which ran at fairs and festivals for over 35 years. Duane also loved restoring antique tractors and had over 20 tractors at one point. John Deere was his favorite brand, although he also had a couple of red ones.

When Duane wasn’t busy with his children and grandchildren, his work and his hobbies, you could find him having breakfast with his friends at local Ludington restaurants and mowing the lawn.

Duane will be greatly missed by his wife, Leslie; his five sons, Joseph (Tracy) of Ludington, Michael (Kerrie) of Ludington, Mark of Ludington, Paul (Lisa) of Scottville, and Andrew (Diane) of Saline; his 13 grandchildren, Courtney, Cody, Calvin, Rachel, Claire, Jackson, Jamison, Harrington, Garrison, Megan, Madeline, Elisabeth, and Alexander; his siblings – his twin brother Lane (Rosemary), Norita Sue (Peter) Siler, Geralyn (John) Claire, Mary Lou (James) Nichols, and Fredrick (Debra); numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends. Duane was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Ann Marie Cooper and Therese Cooper.

A Mass from the order of Christian Funerals is being planned for a later date and will be announced once gatherings are permitted. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Duane’s name may be directed to the Western Michigan Old Engine Club, 5443 South Custer Road, Custer, Michigan 49405, or the Ludington American Legion Post 76, 318 N. James St., Ludington, MI 49431.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington. Please share a memory of Duane at www.oakgroveludington.com.

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