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Vernon Lee Cooper

Vernon Lee Cooper passed away at his home in West Plains, Missouri on April 28, 2020, at the age of 81.


He was born January 5, 1939 at a home on a farm near Humphreys, Missouri, to Harold D. Cooper and Dorothy Mae Phillips Cooper.  He was married to Doris Fern Rinehart on December 30, 1959 in Kansas City, Missouri.  He graduated from Humphreys High School in 1957 and received an AA from Trenton Junior College in 1959 and received his BS in Social Studies from Kirksville State Teachers College (Truman State) in 1961; he later received his MA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Mr. Cooper began his teaching career in Monroe City, Missouri, teaching High School from 1961-68.  The family moved to West Plains in 1968 where he began teaching at Southwest Missouri State-West Plains which became Missouri State University-West Plains.  He enjoyed teaching “Supply & Demand” to many students during his 38 years at MSU-WP before he retired in 2006.  Vernon grew up on a farm and his first paid job was as a farmhand.  He put himself through college working as a farmhand after classes and during the summers.  He enjoyed his own small farm near West Plains where he later would take his grandchildren and great-grandchildren for rides to count the cows.  He was baptized at the Christian Church in Humphreys, Missouri and was currently a member of Smith Chapel in West Plains.


He is survived by his wife, Doris Cooper; three children, Kelli Cook and husband, Mark, West Plains, Vernon Kent Cooper, MD and wife, Janice, Branson, Missouri and Harold Kory Cooper, PhD and wife, Michele Buzon, PhD, West Lafayette, Indiana; six grandchildren, Whitney Frazier and husband, Kody, Hallie Eskew and husband, Matthew, Rebecca Cooper, DVM, Lt. George William Cooper, Lydia Cooper and Elliot Cooper; five great-grandchildren, Jaidyn and Karson Frazier and Rylie, Aliyah and Audrey Eskew; three sisters, Joan Stinnett, Lees Summit, Missouri, Karen DeVore, Warrensburg,  Missouri and Mary Grothe and husband, Larry, Wheeling,  Missouri; one brother, Roger Cooper, Humphreys, Missouri; two brothers-in-law, Gerald Jennings, Gladstone, Missouri and Keith Rinehart, Brookefield, Missouri; one sister-in-law, Barbara Rinehart, Purdin, Missouri; and many nieces and nephews.


His parents, one sister, Phyllis Forson, six brothers-in-law and five sisters-in-law, preceded him in death.


A family graveside service will be held at a later date at the Haseville Church.   Memorial contributions may be made to Three Rivers Hospice or Garnett Library-MSU and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 W. Main, West Plains, MO  65775. Online condolences may be expressed at