of Plymouth

The Little

Uncle Jabez



Charles I


Charles Ingalls Cooper 1918 - 2004

Here are some pictures (not very good) of Charles' service on July , and Carlos' list of attendees, as I can recognize only a few such as the immediate Cooper family & fellow Plymoutheans, plus Michael, Elizabeth, and Ivo. If anyone would like to fill in the missing names, please email me at jimbaker@adelphia.net

Tania has supplied a brief biography of her father:

Charles Ingalls Cooper was born in Plymouth on 4 February 1918; his parents were Elizabeth Ingalls Fowler and Guy Winthrop Cooper, both from Plymouth (although Guy was born in South Boston while his father George W. Cooper, a mason, was working on buildings), and they lived their entire married life in that town. Elizabeth had lived at various addresses in the Wellingsley—Jabez Corner area of Plymouth as her widowed mother tried to provide a living for her children, while Guy grew up with his parents at 231 Sandwich St. and later lived next door over the store at 233 Sandwich St. before moving into the family house about 1927. Guy Cooper ran a general store that used to stand on “Jabez Corner", which he had inherited from his uncle Ansel Bartlett in 1903 until he sold it in 1947. 

After graduating from Plymouth High School, Charles started attending Burdett College in Boston, commuting from Plymouth in 1935, then moved to Boston in 1937 (at the time he shared an apartment with John Chapman, also a native of Plymouth ) and graduated in 1938. He worked for the General Electric Supply Corp as a secretary and sales promostion assistant, until he was inducted into the Army Reserve in 1942 and was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps. He went overseas with the US armed forces and served in Italy (where he witnessed the Vesuvio volcano eruption) and was stationed in Austria at the end of the of the war (first near Innsbruck, where one of his missions was to guard the family Van Ribbentrop - (VR was one of Hitler's ministers) under house arrest prior to the Nuremberg trials, then in Vienna.

After WW II Charles Cooper joined the US State Department, and was first assigned to the US Consulate in Madrid (late 1940s) and then in Barcelona (1950), where he met his first wife Michele Arias. He subsequently served at the US Embassies in Geneva (1953-1959), Paris (1961-1963) and at the US Mission to the UN in New York (1964-1969). In the early 1970s he joined the United Nations, and worked at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland at TARS (Technical Assistance Recruitment Service), until his retirement in 1978. He returned to Plymouth for a few years and lived at Boot Pond, then on Summer St. After his first wife passed away, Charles accepted a short term consultancy in Vienna, Austria. In 1983 he remarried Johanna Nebehay, a native of Austria, whom he had known during the last days of the war. He then moved to Vienna, where he lived on Malherstrasse,  until his death in 2004.

Charles was rather soft spoken, modest and somewhat reserved, but one of his most striking traits was his sense of humor and he always amused his friends with his lively anecdotes. Charles was described by many of his friends as charming, witty and “always a gentleman”. He thoroughly enjoyed reading – biographies, history, novels and poetry in particular. He admired the poet Emily Dickenson and often read or recited her verses. He also enjoyed listening to music from the 30s and 40s and had an impressive memory for lyrics; until very late in life, he would sing entire songs while mimicking the expressions of different singers and crooners, to the delight of his friends and his late wife's grandchildren. Finally, he took great pleasure in writing, which is attested in the dozens of letters he wrote to his “Aunt Phoebe” (Ada Fowler), sister Jane Baker and to his mother during the war years, and later on by frequent correspondence with family members and friends; in reading his letters and essays one might say that his true vocation was writing  or telling stories – one regrets that he never believed enough in his own talent to take his writing more seriously.

Upon his death he received many tokens of frienship and affection, not only from old friends in the US but more recent acquaintances of the 22 years spent in Vienna.

For a larger image, click on the picture.


Carlos' List

Those who attended the service for Charles at Vine Hills are:

yourselves [Jim & Peggy Baker]

myself, Anita, and Patrik (currently the last of the Coopers)

Brian Horrigan, his wife (it's either something Gaelic like
"Gaetwillgyn", or just plain "Sue" I'm not sure) and daughter (?). Brian is
one of two American students who lodged at Johanna's in Vienna some
thirty-odd years ago.

Betsy Jones (wife of the other American student, from Spartanburg, S.C.)

Lissa Person

Phyllis Lee

Jean Patenaude

Tania Cooper Patriota and son Thomas

Dr. Michael Nebehay (younger son of Johanna) and family: his wife Paula, son
David a.k.a. Ivo, and two daughters, Agnes and Anna

Elizabeth Riley (daughter of John Chapman) and husband

Tony Baker

Reverend Daniel Spacek (interim pastor at Church of the Pilgrimage)

and last but not least...

"Brendan" (suspicious character in sharkskin suit and dark
sunglasses lurking in the wings) , representing Richard Davis Funeral Home,
apparently at no extra charge

I think that's everyone, although someone's slightly mischievous spirit also
may have been present.

As you know, there was a lot of last minute, unceremonious scrambling to
conceal the unsightly, bullet-shaped canister used for airfreighting
Charles' ashes from Vienna. I located a suitable vessel at the Sparrow
House Pottery, with about three minutes to spare. I then marched briskly up
to Vine Hills Cemetery, carrying in one hand the newly acquired "urn" and in
the other, a torn carton containing the offending canister.

Whether it was the mid-July heat, nervous tension, or a combination of both
that did me in, I was sweating bullets by the time I reached the gravesite.
Summoning my best sleight-of-hand I casually dumped the carton onto the
front seat of our parked car, and proceeded with the illusion by gingerly
placing the [empty] urn at the designated spot near the gravestone. I was
praying that Patrik or some other toddler wouldn't accidentally topple the
urn, thereby unveiling the whole wicked deception.

Anyway, after the service, when everyone had left the cemetery, our car
refused to let us in. Even though the windows were down and we could reach
in to activate the door handles manually, the locks kept on locking
themselves. After half a dozen attempts, Anita exclaimed, "This is your
father, I just know it." Then the doors behaved again...