Leon Cooper died Sunday, May 24, 2015, the first day of Shavuot. He was born Leib Kupczyk in Poland. When the Nazi's Final Solution caught up with the family in 1942, his mother and two sisters were sent to Belzec Death Camp and immediately killed. He and his father were sent to the notorious camp Plaszow, where his father was killed. Leon was one of the Schindlerjuden - Jews who owe their life to Oscar Schindler. From Schindler's camp he was later sent to other camps, and finally liberated from Theresienstadt on May 8, 1945.
In January 1947 Leon, still a teenager, came to Houston where he began to rebuild his life. He went to school, and served in the army in the Korean War - stationed in Germany before he was even a United States citizen! After returning to Houston, he met the love of his life Shirley Pomerantz. His death came only one month before their 60th anniversary. He built a business, Houston Pecan Company, where he was known for his honesty, his generosity, and his jokes.
Leon was devoted to his family. He had a strong love for Judaism and the State of Israel. He had a passion for educating everyone, especially young people, about the Holocaust and the dangers of intolerance and cruelty. Over the years, he spoke to thousands of students about his experiences.
Leon is survived by his wife Shirley, his daughter Tobi Cooper and her husband Rabbi Danny Horwitz; and daughter Cindy Saper and her husband Dr. Mark Saper. He was a proud and loving grandfather of Dina & Joey Carr and their daughter Emmy, Rabbi Sarit Horwitz, Shaye Horwitz, Eliana Horwitz, Eli & Abby Saper, Daniel Saper, and Noam Saper. He is also survived by brother-in-law and sister-in-law Seymour and Martha Pomerantz. In addition, Leon is survived by nephews and a niece, loving cousins and many friends.
Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at 2:00 pm, at Congregation Beth Yeshurun. Burial to follow at Beth Yeshurun Allen Parkway Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Holocaust Museum Houston or a charity of your choice.