This was read almost word for word at Mr. Coop’s memorial on March 19, 2005.
By Peggy Rowe
Born: February 24, 1942, San Francisco, CA.
Death Date: March 10, 2005, Mark Twain Hospital, San Andreas, CA
Burial will be a cremation. Spreading of ashes took place outside of Angels Camp, CA.
It's hard for me to come up with stories of my uncle Tom. Not because of any lack of memories, but instead probably because of lack wanting to face that I am loosing someone so important in my life.
A few weeks ago, MY uncle Tom told how he couldn’t be such a tough guy when he had two little girls just running out the door to greet him when he came to visit our home. He said I’d make it first because I was older and stronger, and grab him around his knee and say, “Uncle Tommy, Uncle Tommy…” and next would come my little sister almost three years younger than I hugging him below the knee…. and a smaller… “Uncle Tommy, Uncle Tommy…” We loved our Uncle Tommy so much that as soon as we heard he was at our home for a visit, it was “Uncle Tommy” from the moment our feet hit the floor until the moment we reached those knees! Uncle Tommy was fun… he was silly. He pretended to run into the door and get hurt. He made funny faces… He loved us and we adored him.
He seemed to enjoy doing things that made us giggle. Uncle Tommy was our clown. He did really special things with us, just so that we would know he cared... We saw Stars Wars with Uncle Tom and then we got an ice cream sundae.
Our father passed away while we were still quite young. I was 21, so my sister was probably around 18 years old. We have been blessed with many aunts and uncles who have tried to help with that loss, and to fill the gap where they could. But, Uncle Tom-Tom.... he was the best. For the past 15 or so years he has been my primary confidant. No matter what the problem was I could go to Uncle Tom who could help me to understand things better. My grandparents passed away while I was in my early 30's. After that Uncle Tom was my father, mother, grandma, grandpa, and my Uncle Tom.
No one could have been as gentle and big hearted and yet tell it like is. He was probably the first person in my family to "SEE" me as I truly was, and accept me. He didn't judge me, he loved me. He was the one family member that saw what I grew up with, and affirmed my memories. He affirmed that I had indeed had a hard road to hoe as a child. He made sure I was aware that he was concerned for me and my future. Uncle Tommy affirmed my needing to find the truth, he knew how hard it was for me, he told me how much respected me for it.
I think what is touching me the most is how he is choosing to die. He is the one whose body was being eaten away with cancer. He was the one with constant pain, and fever, not being able to eat. And yet he talked to each of us individually and told us how proud he was of us. He wasn’t worried about what he was going through, but what we were going through. He reassured us that he was at peace with what was happening. That he would always be there with us, if we looked we would feel his presence. He is trying to remain independent until the end and not be a burden to his family. His selflessness in that he wants to try to hang on until he finishes all his business. To try to endure all the pain until that one last thing is taken care of, that he can do that himself and leave it in no one else’s hands.
Two days ago, he was so weak he could hardly speak. He had been told I was sick and couldn’t come to see him. He got on the phone and I asked him how he was and his answer was, “It sounds like I am doing better than you.”
Thomas Earl Coop, was a man who accomplished much in his life, though he himself told me he felt as if he’d failed somehow. I tried to tell him that he was no failure, for he taught at least two nieces what true love, unconditional love really were.
Tom Coop was a salesman and a good man. He was Salesman of the Month at the San Francisco Examiner in October 1963 and again in March and April 1964. In the Examiner’s Newsletter for Classified Employees it said, “Tom’s spectacular record includes a 199 per cent increase over the previous year…” That April was the biggest month in the Examiner’s history up to that time.
Tom Coop, attended Golden Gate University for a short time, and also Chabot Junior College. In terms of education he received a certificate of achievements for passing an examinations in Understanding Broadcasting and Understanding Retailing. Both Certificates are signed by the Department Head, John R. Healey, Journalism Department California State Polytechnic College.
In 1966 he became Ad Manager at a newspaper called the Itemizer, in Polk County, Oregon. He went on to work for the San Jose Mercury, and the Daly City Times.
Tom moved on to car sales after that. He started at Toyota of Santa Cruz. He worked for many car dealerships in the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked selling Nissan, Ford, Lincoln, & Mercury. In fact, there probably isn’t a make of automobile he hasn’t sold. He worked for independents as well, those included The Car Store, and Hayes Auto Sales. He worked selling cars well into the 1990’s.
Tom Coop also spent some time at Esalen Institute. Here he worked as a cook in order to stay and learn from the gurus of the time. He met Co-founder Dick Price, along with Fritz Perls, and Joseph Campbell.
Tom received a certificate from the Biofeedback Training Institute of San Francisco, and spent hours as a volunteer service worker at the Tenderloin Self Help Center. He received Board of Supervisors commendation for that work in the Tenderloin.
Tom Coop founded and was editor of “The Show Room Voice” a newsletter for Car Salesmen.
In 1978, Tom passed the test necessary to sell real estate in the state of California.
Tom also helped to co found and run Image2000 with partner, Kenn Mann.
Tom was married three times, to Sharon Hampson, Kathy, and Margaret Claire Lind. I still reefer to Margaret Lind as my Aunt Peggy. He never had any children of his own.
He leaves behind his current Partner, Alice Callahan. His older sister, Patricia Lorine Coop Rowe, nieces (aka, his kids:) Peggy and Pamela Rowe, and their children: Pamela Ann Miller, Wesley William Miller, Diane Marie Watson, and Desirae Marie Gamez. He has many dear old friends who will surely miss his presence, Dave.. Joe... Kenn... James... Predeceased are his Father, Earl Otho Coop, and Mother, Hazel Lorine Coop.
Uncle Tom's Attempt at an Autobiography, two pages, max.
Pictures of his place in Angel’s Camp
There is a little boy, probably now, almost a man, named Jeffery
Thank you so much for the news.
Your uncle was/is an incredible human being, and a very dear friend of mine. He will be deeply missed. He will always be like a lighthouse for me. He has definitely made this world a better place.
I don’t have stories come to mind right now, but I will sit quietly and see if anything comes. I hope his passing was gentle.
I know he’s smiling on us right now.
Sending much care, Daniel B.
--Official Obituary --
Thomas Earl Coop
Thomas Earl Coop died Thursday, March 10, 2005, at Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas. He was 63.
Born Feb. 24, 1942, in San Francisco, Mr. Coop lived in the Bay Area most of his life before moving to Altaville in 1998. He enjoyed playing various card games and was a salesman for the San Francisco
Examiner and various auto dealerships.
He is survived by fiancée Alice Callahan of Fair Oaks and sister Patricia Doyal of Newark, Calif.
Memorial service will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at San Andreas Memorial Chapel.