Robert M. Cooper, affectionately known as Coop, “represented the best of Bonac,” his family wrote. “He was a steadfast leader of his family” and embraced “the roots of the Bonac lifestyle. He loved the water, golf, animals, and his family.”
Mr. Cooper died on Saturday at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. He was 80 and had pulmonary fibrosis.
He worked for the Long Island Lighting Company and tended bar at a number of local establishments before opening his own business, the Cooper Trenching Corporation, which he ran for more than 30 years.
He and his twin brother, Leonard, were born on Dec. 17, 1943, in Salinas, Calif., to Dr. Francis L. and Rita Cooper. His father was serving in the military, stationed in California. Shortly after his birth, his mother traveled across the country by train with him, his twin brother, and their sister, Frances, to return home to East Hampton. Their father joined them when his service was complete.
Mr. Cooper grew up on Cooper Lane in East Hampton Village and attended the public schools here until the last few years of high school, when he and his brother transferred to Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. He joined the Air Force after graduating, and served from 1962 until 1966.
“Everyone knew him as a kind person who never hesitated to help those in need,” his family wrote.
He and his wife of over 50 years, the former Ellen Campbell, reared their two children in East Hampton. She survives, as do their children, Robert F. Cooper of Fort Myers, Fla., and Rebecca Lester of Springs, and their spouses, Mary Jean Cooper and Brian Lester. Mr. Cooper is also survived by a granddaughter, Juliana Lester.
His twin brother, Leonard (Bit) Cooper, and sister, Frances Cooper Hirsch, died before him.
A wake will be held today from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. A graveside service will follow tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Cedar Lawn Cemetery here, with a reception afterward.