Deacon Matthew Irving Cooper was one of the seven children born to the late Luke Cooper and Novella Stringfield Cooper in Sussex County, Virginia. He grew up, went to school, attended church, and helped work the family farm where he learned the qualities of leadership, compassion, hard work, and duty that he would carry into his adult life.
Matthew entered the United States Army during the early 1950’s, and served in Korea, France, Vietnam, and many other places in the world. He earned many commendations during his career of almost thirty years: Bronze star Medals, Meritorious Service Medals (One Oak leaf Cluster), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation (Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, National Defense Service Medal (One Leaf Cluster), Vietnam Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (Four Oak Leaf Clusters), Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medals (Nine awards), Sharpshooter Qualification Badge M-14 Rifle, and many others. He retired in 1981, and received his final award: The Distinguished Service Medal from the state of North Carolina for his service with the North Carolina Army National Guard.
Matthew’s leadership, professionalism, concern for the welfare of soldiers under his command, and excellence in conduct and judgement are some of the characteristics mentioned over and over throughout his military career that not only reflect the highest standards of military service, but are also the same qualities he possessed in his family and civilian life.
After retiring in Littleton, North Carolina, Matthew became an active member of his church and community. He was involved in the local American Legion Post 425 and worked with the Boy Scouts of America. He transferred his church membership from Union Hill Christian Church to St. Luke Baptist Church and was a faithful member, leader, mentor, and friend to many while serving as a Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent, and on any other auxiliaries where there was a need.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M on Saturday, November 19, 2016, at the funeral home. Rev. Will C. Tabron will eulogize, and Rev. Cornelius Young will officiate. Burial will follow in the St. Luke Baptist Church Cemetery in Littleton. The body will repose at the funeral home until 8:30 P.M. on Friday, November 18, 2016.