John Cooper will be remembered by many for his contributions to the local, Missouri, and national dairy industries. However, we remember John today for his contribution in bringing the Missouri dairy industry together to establish the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation in 1988.
“If it had not been for John and the late Harry Herman, MU professor emeritus of dairy science, the Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation might not be in existence,” said Rex Ricketts, coordinator of the University Extension Commercial Agriculture program, who nominated John for the Pioneer Dairy Leadership Award.
As we know the Foundation’s purpose is to maintain and perpetuate a Dairy Hall of Honors to recognize leadership in the Missouri dairy industry as we are now doing. A second purpose is to provide an archive for the preservation of records and memorabilia of our industry.
Starting in 1988, John, as the Foundation’s executive secretary, nurtured the organization through the years until his death April 21, 2000. Today, the Foundation has widespread support of the Missouri dairy industry and has a solid financial base.
John’s dedication to the Dairy Hall of Honors Foundation would be ample justification for awarding this Pioneer Dairy Leadership Award today. However, John’s life has been dedicated to the dairy industry since his birth on a Greene County dairy farm in 1918.
John graduated from the University of Missouri in 1939 with a degree in dairy science. He joined the MU Agricultural Extension Service after graduation and worked as an assistant county agent in Cass and Jackson counties. In 1942 he became field supervisor and plant manager for Adams Dairy at Blue Springs.
In 1955 John became director of extension for the Holstein-Friesian Association of America in Brattleboro, Vt., and in 1961 he returned to Adams Dairy as executive vice president and general manger.
He was editor of the Missouri Holstein-Friesian Journal and secretary of the Association from 1952 to 1955. Still later in 1963, John was named vice president of the Missouri Holstein Association and president in 1965 while continuing to serve as editor of the Holstein Journal.
In 1971 John was named secretary-manager of the Missouri Holstein Friesian Association and under his guidance the Association grew and prospered and many outstanding herds of national repute were developed. He started a strong cattle sales program and Missouri Holsteins moved into many states and countries around the world.
John’s awards, honors, and memberships in professional and honorary organizations are too numerous to list here today.
John was a lifelong member of the Christian Church and served as an elder and treasurer during his years while living in Ozark. He is survived by Jane, his wife, and four children- Margaret Holmberg, Quaker Hill, Conn.; Ann Brady, Ozark; Elsie Ewbank, Warsaw, Ky.; and C. B. Cooper, Dry Ridge, Ky. Seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter also survive.