Robert Scotland Cooper Sr., of Savannah, born Feb. 20, 1928, died peacefully on Thanksgiving Day November 24, 2016, surrounded by his family and is missed already for his warmth, wit, kind-hearted gentleness and love. He is preceded in death by his beloved Mary Emmeline King Cooper who died on Dec. 26, 2007. They were married on her birthday, Sept. 10, 1955 and spent 52 wonderful years together. Robert was born at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta to Cdr. Henry George Cooper, USN and Janet Evins Cooper. In the years leading up to WWII, Commander Cooper served with distinction at posts near and distant. Robert often proudly claimed that he had attended 13 grammar schools during his formative years. He lived for periods in Atlanta, Charleston, SC. Newport RI, New Orleans, and attended Pearl River Military Academy. But, he loved most the time he spent with his parents, brother, Samuel Evins Cooper and sister Caroline in the Orient. An avid and gifted storyteller, he often shared his vivid memories of his mother, a Sorbonne-trained artist, painting scenes along the seawall at the Olongapo Naval Base on Subic Bay in the Philippines. His tales were full of the taste of sweet mangoes, gentle air and fascinating people he knew there though he was only six at the time. Robert enjoyed and sought a military life. He was accepted at the Citadel Military Academy in Charleston and completed his his bachelors degree there in 1951. After graduation, his passion for all things aeronautical led him to take a job at the Cleveland Model and Supply Co. in Ohio. Many of the people he met while there remained life-long friends. His natural musical talents flourished and he started learning and performing with his clear tenor voice and classical guitar accompaniment. Fortune brought him to Savannah in 1953 where he began his 27-year career with the Corps of Engineers. But more importantly, he met and married his soulmate Emmeline. During a brief stint in Buffalo, NY their first son, Ruskin King Cooper was born on September 28, 1957. They loaded up Robert’s MG roadster with his Shop-smith-a birthday gift from Emmeline-in tow and came back south to settle in Savannah. Pioneers at heart, they purchased a lovely but dusty townhouse on West Perry St. in March of 1959. Banks were not eager to make loans on downtown properties then but Robert managed to finalize the mortgage with terrifyingly high payments of $69 per month. Robert swore when it was paid off, that he and Emmeline would be living on easy street. Later that year, on December 3, Robert S. Cooper Jr was born. Their house was one filled with happy memories of nights laughing and playing music and jovial evenings gathered around the kitchen table. Robert had a wood working shop there and begin building lutes, earning the respect of his friend and mentor Richard Dyer-Bennett. Robert’s enthusiasm to renew interest in the then-obscure early instruments prompted him to publish his book Lute Construction in 1963. Their third son Graham Patteson Weisiger Cooper was born on June 23, 1970. Robert became renowned for his fine and imaginative woodworking skills. His lutes have been played by some of the great performers of early music-Dyer Bennett, Donna Curry and Carver Blanchard. His scale models of primarily WWI-era airplanes are recognized as some of the finest in the country. He retired from the Corps of Engineers in 1980 and devoted his full attention to Cooper Workshop. He was often sought out to do the jobs that no one else could do as well, or at all. Music, airplanes and woodworking were the things Robert did, but they are not who he was. He was always busy in his shop-Emmeline would sometimes have to hold supper because he was in the middle of a glue job-but he was never too busy for the boys whether it was a science project or just a tricky part of an airplane model. He was a patient and encouraging teacher. He had a way of seeing the final product and knew how to get a job done the right way. He said when he was working on a lute or an airplane that time had no meaning. Robert is preceded in death by his adored and adoring wife Emmeline and son Ruskin who died in 2012. and leaves behind, sons Robert and Graham (Lisa) granddaughters Valerie Emmeline and Hedda Eugenie King Cooper daughters of Robert and grandsons Benjamin King and Samuel Mallard Cooper sons of Graham and Lisa. The family would like to thank Harriet Speer for her love and support, Francine Cail for her tender care during Robert’s final days as well as the staff of Hospice Savannah without whose help those days would not have been as peaceful. Remembrances should be made to Hospice Savannah. There will be a memorial service at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday December 10, at 11 a.m. Please sign our on-line guest book at Savannah Morning News November 27, 2016 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at

Posted in: Savannah Morning News

Posted on: 2016-11-28

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