Bert Luis Cooper
Bert Louis Cooper of Carson City, Nevada passed away on October 12th, 2020 at the age of 87. Bert died peacefully of natural causes in his home with his wife Letha and many of his children and grandchildren at his side.
Bert was born in McGill, Nevada on August 22nd, 1933 to Cecil Cooper and Rosella Cooper. Bert was the youngest of three children. He had an older brother Gordon Cooper and an older sister Valene Laird. He met Esther Elizabeth Heckel at the University of Denver and they were married in 1955, in Denver, Colorado.Together they had a daughter and two sons. After moving a few times they made their home in Carson City, Nevada in 1963. Esther passed away in October of 1996. In 1997 Bert married Letha C Mariani in Ely Nevada.
Bert was a 1952 graduate of White Pine County High School where he was a standout athlete helping lead White Pine to two consecutive state titles in basketball, (1951 and 1952). He also played football and was on the varsity track team, earning 8 varsity letters during his time at White Pine High School. During his senior year he was Student Body President. This success led to a two sport scholarship to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, (football and basketball). He attended the University of Utah his freshman year and then transferred to the University of Denver to play football. He was on the 9-1 University of Denver team that won the Skyline Conference Championship in 1954. He was inducted into the DU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 with the 1954 football team.
Upon graduating from The University of Denver Bert taught and coached in both Colorado and Nevada. During this time he was able to land his dream job of teacher and head football, basketball and baseball coach at White Pine High School. Bert went on to work for the Nevada State Department of Education in Carson City where he ended up being the State Director of Curriculum. In 1974 Bert was named the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s first Executive Director. He served in that position until his retirement in 1990. He served four terms on the National Federation of State High School Associations executive committee and was its president during the 1984-1985 school year. In 1996 he was inducted into the NIAA Hall of Fame.
Bert enjoyed hunting and fishing in both Nevada and Colorado, spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and playing golf with his longtime friends and family. Bert never missed “coffee” each morning with his friends. He traveled all over Nevada and Colorado attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. Always the consummate host Bert loved having family and friends up to the house for BBQ and friendship.
Bert is survived by his wife Letha C Cooper; daughter Kara L Mendive and her husband Paul ; son Kent L Cooper and his wife Laura and son Kim B Cooper and his wife Teresa; along with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; brother Gordon Cooper; Giovanna Jones and her husband Lee, Florindo Mariani and his wife Shari, Gino Mariani and his wife Jennifer, Roman Mariani and countless extended family and friends. He is predeceased by his first wife Esther E Cooper; and sister Valene Laird.
Bert will be cremated and interred in Carson City at Lone Mountain Cemetery. After the 1st of the year the family hopes to have a celebration of life get together with family and friends in Bert’s honor.