Celebrating the Life of Oren Cooper

San Diego Watercolor Society Signature Member Oren Cooper passed away at the end of September, just shy of his 99th birthday. His family would like to invite his dear friends to his Celebration of Life. Oren’s son, Eric Cooper commented that “He was very proud of his SDWS that he was able to put on each painting. He loved your club and its members.”

Please see Oren’s obituary and details for his Celebration of Life below.


Oren Cooper, who had a long and happy life, went to be with his Lord September 21, 2019. He was just shy of 99 years old. Oren grew up in Niagara Falls, NY and his first job was at his parent’s ( Carl and Margaret ) Cooper Sign Company which is still in operation.

Oren attended Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and the Art Institute of Buffalo but his education was interrupted by World War II. He was at Normandy D Day + 1 as well as the Battle of the Bulge. Army Sergeant Oren Cooper was a Technical Fourth Grade Draftsman in the 38th Infantry Regiment and was awarded a Bronze star, Good Conduct Medal by our government as well as a Conspicuous Service Cross from the Governor of NY.

After the war, Oren graduated from Yale School of Fine Arts. He taught art history at Quinnipiac University in CT. He managed a postcard company in Maine before joining IBM in 1954.  He had a long career of graphic design and fine arts as Art Director for IBM for 30 years. During that time, he worked with legendary designers Charles Eames and Paul Rand. He helped organize IBM’s annual 100% clubs working with celebrities like Vincent Price, Bob Newhart and Wild Kingdom’s Jim Fowler.

He enjoyed 35 years of retirement in the San Fernando Valley of California during which he traveled extensively, golfed, learned Spanish at night school and followed his true passion of painting watercolors. 

Oren was President of both the Valley Watercolor Society & the Valley Artists’ Guild, second Vice President of the National Watercolor Society, Signature Member of both the San Diego Watercolor Society & Watercolor West, and a member of the California Art Club where he was awarded a Gold Medal. He won 3 additional Gold Medals with the Valley Artists’ Guild. In addition, Oren did watercolor demonstrations and juried exhibits for various art organizations.

Oren was legendary among his friends and family for his annual Christmas card which was a reproduction of one of his beautiful watercolor paintings. This tradition has been ongoing for almost 40 years and will continue in his honor.

His paintings are in several collections in Switzerland, Brazil, Northern Ireland and Scotland.  He is listed in “Who’s Who in California.” His ceramic bear sculpture was selected to be on display in the New York State Building exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair.Oren was preceded in death by his sisters Lilian and Kathleen as well as his brother Wayne.

Oren is survived by his loving wife Norma of 65 years and his son Eric as well and his brothers Harold and Jerry Cooper and long time family friend Linda Shockley.

There will be a celebration of Life for Oren on Sunday October 27th at 2pm at The First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills 10400 Zelzah Ave. Northridge CA 91326.

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