May 4, 2010 > Lloyd Cooper
January 12, 1925 - April 16, 2010
It is not length of life, but depth of life. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some people embrace life with gusto. Adventure and vitality seem to gather around them, always close by. Friends and family are blessed, enveloped by a personality that transcends basic existence and an extraordinary spirit that seems to soar beyond human boundaries. Lloyd Cooper was such a person. His eight and a half decades were filled with enthusiasm and passion.
Following graduation from San Leandro High School in 1943, Lloyd began studies at San Jose State but was soon called for military service. He served as a first Lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps as a pilot of B-25 and C-47 aircraft based in Hawaii. After completing active service, Lloyd remained in the Reserves for an additional 10 years.
Helping his father deliver bread from Homekraft Bakery in early life gave Lloyd an appreciation for fresh baked goods. That power of flour stayed with him throughout his life leading him to open numerous bakeries: Merritt and Embers Market in Oakland, Hass Avenue, Louis Brothers in San Lorenzo and Haymont in Hayward.
In 1948, with his brother Ed, Lloyd established Angel Kakery in San Leandro, then Cooper's House of Pastry in Fremont near Cloverleaf Bowl. Lloyd opened his first donut shop - Lloyd's Donut Kitchen - on "B" and Main in Hayward in 1968. A few years later, Jack Stevenson asked him to open a donut shop in his new center, Los Arboles. Lloyd sold the Donut Kitchen and 1973 Lloyd's Donut Kitchen opened at the development, now called Mowry East, and remains a local icon to this day.
In the midst of a busy life as an entrepreneur, Lloyd always found time for his family. Valerie fondly recalls him as a great father who spent "tons of time with me and my brother." Active in sports just like their father, Valerie and Brad could count on Lloyd's presence at competitions; the same was true for his grandchildren. "Even with a thousand people at a track meet, you could always hear my dad's voice - you can't miss it," says Valerie. "He was a special man and a great role model as a husband, father and grandfather." She adds, "He loved being with people and the Lord."
A second Lloyd's Donut Kitchen opened at Capital and Berryessa in San Jose, operated by his daughter Valerie and her husband, Ken. A third shop, opened at Paseo Padre Parkway and Fremont Boulevard was purchased by his son Brad. When the San Jose shop was sold, Valerie and Ken began management of the Mowry location. Lloyd retired in 1991 but the family tradition continued as Valerie and ken bought Lloyd's - Valerie at the front counter and Ken making donuts behind the scenes at night - and are still active at that location.
Lloyd passed from this life peacefully at home in San Leandro on April 16, 2010. He loved golf, was an active member of the Gideon Society and his church. Lloyd Cooper is fondly remembered by his family and friends. Family members include wife of 62 years, Elizabeth Cooper; son Brad Cooper (Terri Cooper) of Fremont; daughter Valerie Cooper (Ken Berrier) of Hayward; grandchildren Tammie Ostlund, Kristi Southwick, Jamie Cooper and Jared Berrier; and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held for Lloyd at Neighborhood Church of Castro Valley, 20600 John Drive in Castro Valley on Saturday, May 8 at 12 noon.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. -- Abraham Lincoln
To celebrate the life of Lloyd Cooper, Ken and Valerie invite everyone to stop by Lloyd's Donut Kitchen on Saturday, May 15 to receive one free cake, raised or old fashion donut (80¢ value). Supplies are limited, so come early! This is your opportunity to share a bit of Lloyd's legacy and raise a "happy food" donut toast to a wonderful family man and friend.