Reldon Wayne Cooper, 92, of Saxonburg passed away on Wednesday at the Good Samaritan Hospice.
Cooper was born June 13, 1920, and raised on the Lerner family farm in Sarver. He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Alpha (Lerner) Cooper; his brother, Leland Cooper; his sister, Leona (Dolly) Murphy; and his wife, Hattie Elizabeth Fisher, who passed away May 13, 1997.
The Coopers were members of the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Saxonburg, and they were married there Oct. 1, 1941.
Cooper worked on the family farm, as well as for his Uncle Frank as a roller skate instructor at Lernerville Amusement Park until his graduation from Winfield High School in 1939. He went to work for George Aderhold at Saxonburg Ceramics. Having learned carpentry from his father and later acquiring the skills of an electrician and tool and die maker, Reldon always enjoyed building and making things. He was a ham radio operator and a Army veteran.
Cooper co-founded Du-Co Ceramics in Saxonburg in 1949, retired in 2007, and established the Cooper Station Restaurant in 1994.
Cooper was an active member of his community having served as mayor of Saxonburg for 32 years from 1965 to 1997. Before that he served as chief and president of the Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Department, having been a member of the fire department since he was 18 years old.
He was active in the Butler County Law Enforcement Association and served as special deputy sheriff and deputy coroner for many years. He was a pilot and member of the Butler County Sheriff’s Air-O-Posse.
Reldon served as the first chairman of the Saxonburg Historical and Restoration Commission, which established Roebling Park and sponsors the annual Saxonburg Fall Festival of the Arts. Reldon and his wife, Hattie, established the Reldon and Hattie Cooper Charitable Trust Foundation which supports various local charities and provides educational scholarships, as well as donating funds used to help establish community facilities, including St. Luke’s Centennial Hall, the Saxonburg Museum and a meeting room at the Saxonburg Library/Rumbaugh Center.
He was instrumental in establishing organizations, including the Butler County Airport Authority, of which he was chairman for many years. He served as the Butler County emergency management coordinator for many years and worked to bring the 911 system to the county.
Other organizations he was involved with over the years include serving as a director of the Butler Chamber of Commerce, a committeeman of the Borough of Saxonburg, president of Saxonburg Borough Council, a director of South Butler School Board, a director of Butler County Community College Education Foundation, a director of Butler Farm Show, a director of the Allegheny Valley Hospital and a director of the American Cancer Society.
Cooper served on the advisory board of Mellon Bank, the advisory board of the Boy Scouts of America Moraine Council and served on the Eva and William Knoch Scholarship Board. He was a charter member of the F&AM Lodge, Butler, and a member of New Castle Consistory, Butler Caravan 14, Royal Order of Scotland, the Butler Shrine Luncheon Club, the Saxony Shrine Club, the FOP Brady Paul Lodge and the Elks Lodge of Butler. He was a Syria Temple life member (Ambassador, Hariage Unit, Flying Fezzes, Deputy Unit, and Royal Order of Jestors and Hillbillies) and a member of the Family Motor Coach Association.
Cooper is survived by two daughters, Linda Ann Cooper and her husband, Ron Mallonee, and Lora Cooper Rothen, all of the Saxonburg area; four grandchildren; and four great-granddaughters. Grandson, Kyle Cooper Knapp and his wife, Anna, live in Saxonburg and have three daughters, Veronica, Phoebe and Lydia; grandson Joshua Dale Knapp and his wife, Julie, live in Vienna, Ohio, with their daughter Danika; and grandson, Robert Reldon Saiber and granddaughter, Leanne Lauren Saiber, both live in the Saxonburg area.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Saxonburg Historical and Restoration Commission, P.O. Box 466, Saxonburg, PA 16056.