Arthur Aldon Cooper
October 12, 2022
Arthur Aldon Cooper was welcomed into the kingdom of heaven on October 4, 2022. He was born on April 26, 1932, to Uriel Arthur Cooper and Elizabeth McCurdy Cooper in Missoula, Montana. At this time the family lived in Elliston Montana. The family moved often due to Uriel and Elizabeth both being teachers and contract changes. Art said they moved 21 times from his first grade until he graduated from high school in Three Forks in 1950. Starting in the 7th grade Art had a job, from farm work to pumping gas at a gas station. After high school he enrolled at MSC Bozeman, (MSU now). He only attended one quarter because he didn’t know what he wanted to do. He went back to Three Forks and went to work for the Milwaukee Railroad. On October 20, 1951, he married Janeann Jergensen at his parents’ house in Clyde Park. To this union was born three children, Barbara Jane in 1952, Vicki Joann in 1955 and James Arthur in 1956. Later in life niece Lori Phillips Hendrickson has become their “4th” child. The work with the railroad was too sporadic and unpredictable so he quit and went to work at the Texaco. After a year or so there he went to work at Fisher Motors which was a Chevrolet dealership and repair shop. That was where his mechanic skills were born. Harold Fisher taught him all about automotive repair. He worked there until 1969 when he became a mechanic for Ideal Cement at Trident. In 1973 he leased the Conoco in Three Forks and had a repair shop in back. In 1978 he moved the shop home, and it became Art’s Repair. He was a skilled, sought-after mechanic and when he retired his customers were dismayed. Art was skilled at whatever he did from building their home, to woodworking after retirement, to helping Vicki build her house.
As a family, summers were spent camping, primarily at Potosi. Jane and Art continued camping after the kids were grown. They would go for 2 weeks at a time, sometimes with friends or family or both.
He was civic minded. He served on the city council, volunteered for the ambulance and the food bank. He also served the Three Forks Methodist church primarily with his building skills. He helped build the annex and helped with many remodel projects. For years he worked the church rummage sales.
He was a very active person. He hunted and fished and gardened. He took up running in his 50s and participated in races. When knee pain put an end to that he walked the Three Forks trails. In the early 1980s Art and Jane bought Schwinn bikes. Art started riding to Bozeman and back. Then in 1985 he took his first long distance bike trip. He went to Spokane. In the next 21 years he took nearly annual trips averaging 1000 miles per trip and averaged 100 miles per day. To South Dakota, Nevada, Canada, Washington and many diﬀerent loops around Montana. Some longer, some shorter. By the time Art quit riding he put 32,000+ miles on his bike. In 2017 Vicki got him to walk the 10K PubRun with her to celebrate his 85th birthday. He was the oldest participant.
After retirement Art and Jane did lots of traveling. They bought a pop-up Coleman Camper and took it north and south. One of Art’s favorite places was the Grand Canyon. Art would hike down a ways every time they were there but also hiked to the bottom 3 times. This you can only do with a permit and have to do in 2 days. He did it twice by himself and decided to do it a final time celebrating his 76th birthday. This time grandson-in-law Matt Strozewski went with him.
The Coleman also went up the Alcan highway to Alaska in August 1985. Vicki went along on this adventure. Art and Jane also took two ferry trips up the inland waterway to Alaska.
Another favorite trip was to the Oregon coast which they did 5 or 6 times.
Art was preceded in death by his parents, sister, MaryLou Holthaus and brother, James Howard Cooper. He is survived by his wife Jane of 70 years, daughter Barbara (Wayne) Bequette, Deer Lodge, daughter Vicki (Ron) Young, Bozeman, and son Jim (Cheryl) Cooper, Lewiston Idaho. 11 grandchildren, Heather (David) Scully, Nicole (Matt) Strozewski, Toni (Jason) Milburn, Dustin (Joni) Bequette, Jessie (Jared) Miller, Reese Young, Cory (Janessa) Cooper, Amy Cooper, Cooper Klippenstein, Ethan (Katie) Cooper and Sarah (Corey) Newland, 16 great grandchildren and niece Lori Hendrickson. Many other nieces and nephews survive also.
Graveside services will be October 14 at 11 a.m. at the Fairview Cemetery in Three Forks.