Jerry Cooper -- also known as Harry Trapp
Jerry Cooper (aka Harry Trapp)
with his wife Pearl (Johnson)

Charles Louis Trapp

Oda M Vaught

Gerald Melvin Johnson
Birth Name: Harry Lewis Trapp

Born:    8 Feb 1896   Savannah, Andrew County, Missouri
Died:    19 Feb 1983   Garden Grove, Orange County, California

Spouse 1:
   I have information regarding this spouse, but have been asked not to publish it. If you are a relative and have need of it, please write.

Spouse:   Pearl Dimple Johnson   b. 7 Feb 1902   d. 10 May 1994
Married:   13 May 1953 in Downey, California.

Children with First Wife:

   2 sons
   I have further information regarding Jerry's first family;
   however, ave been asked not to publish it.
   If you are a relative and have need of it, please write.

A brief history of Gerald Melvin Cooper

Harry Lewis Trapp was born Feb. 8, 1896 in Savannah, Andrew County, Missouri, USA to Charles Louis Trapp and his wife Oda (Vaught). He was the eldest of seven children.

Harry had a difficult young adulthood, making some personal mistakes, and failing at his first marriage. However, Harry resolved to change his life, and set about a course of action to make a better life and to be a better man. He took his talents on the road to be part of the Big Band era playing the ukulele. Perhaps because he wanted a better name for show business, or maybe because he wanted to leave his early mistakes behind, Harry changed his name. His new formal name would be Gerald Melvin Cooper, but he would go by “Jerry.”

In 1953 he met Pearl (Johnson) Reynolds, a widow whose first husband had passed away 3 years before. Jerry swept Pearl off her feet... quite literally... as they enjoyed many a night on the dance floor. Pearl would later describe it as "divine!" And, when she was preparing to go to assist her daughter Anne with the birth of her first child, Jerry insisted that they marry as he was afraid that Pearl would meet someone who would steal her away from him. Jerry and Pearl were married May 13, 1953 in Downey, California.

Initially, Pearl and Jerry remained in the home that she had shared with her first husband Amzira; however, strange occurrences kept happening and Pearl and Jerry moved to Eagle Rock, California. Pearl said that Amzira always said that if anything happened and she remarried that he would come back and haunt her. Pearl and especially Jerry, were emphatic that this was true as long as they remained in Amzira's house.

Jerry’s occupation that stood him in good stead throughout his life was as a barber. He and Pearl invested in “Jerry’s Barbershop” in Eagle Rock, California -- where their home was half a block away. In slow times Jerry would go home for a quick visit with his dear Pearl.

Many were the times that Pearl’s three children (Henry, Mary, and Anne) would visit along with their multitude of Grandchildren. Altogether, Pearl (and Amzira) had 15 Grandchildren. Since most of the children had never had the privilege to meet Grandpa Amzira, they took Jerry into their hearts as their Grandpa.

“Progress“ came and the state of California decided that they must put a freeway through the middle of the barbershop, and thus Pearl and Jerry were compelled to move. They relocated to Garden Grove, California.

Reflections on my Grandpa Jerry (by Ellen – Anne’s eldest daughter): One of my favorite memories of Grandpa Jerry was getting up before 6 a.m. in the morning, and Grandpa would be up drinking coffee and preparing to fix waffles for all of us. He would look at me and say, "Good afternoon!" It did not matter what time I got up… I never woke up early enough that Grandpa said, "Good morning".

Grandpa was very traditional. He loved his meat and potatoes and not a lot of exercise to go with it. He was generous to a fault and he was always wonderful to kids and dogs. (He had a dog named Rebel who thought she was a person and she was Grandpa's best pal.) Many were the times that Grandpa would take all of us kids out to the “money park.” There Grandpa would surreptitiously toss coins about… and all of us kids would scramble around to find the coins that seemed to sprout up from nowhere in the money park!

Grandpa was very superstitious. There were many small things he did, but the one I remember the best is him sitting in his barbershop cutting the corners off of $2 bills. However, only three corners, because it was unlucky to cut off the 4th corner.

Grandpa adored Grandma and could not stand to be separated from her. She would come up to our home in Lompoc, California and plan to stay for a week. A couple of days later, Grandpa would always show up, saying that he couldn't stand being away from her. This was a pattern that I saw repeated throughout my childhood.

Grandpa had his mischevious side. Many was the time when Grandpa would wink at one of us kids, and then say some little thing to get Grandma distressed and scolding him -- and then he would look back at us and wink again to let us know that he loved Grandma... and he loved teasing her.

February 19, 1983, Jerry Cooper passed away. His ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. He is greatly missed by his Grandchildren.

Pearl passed away on May 10, 1994 in Yucca Valley, San Bernadino County, California. She was buried in Sunnyside Memorial Park in Long Beach,

Research References:

1- 1900 U.S. Federal Census -- Nodaway Township, Andrew, Missouri. Listed (page 29 of 31) with Chas Trapp 28, Ora Trapp 24, Harry Trapp 3, and Owen Trapp 1

2- 1910 U.S. Federal Census -- Kansas Ward 6, Wyandotte, Kansas. Listed (page 41 of 70) Charles L Trapp 38, Oda Trapp 34, Harry Trapp 15, Owen Trapp 12, Earl Trapp 10, Mary Trapp 10, Helen Trapp 5, Albert Trapp 1

3- 1915 Iowa State Census -- Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Listed (page 27996 of 31421 Harry L Trapp, age 19. Occupation: Laborer. 4- 1920 U.S. Federal Census -- (Fairview Township) Anamosa Ward 2, Jones, Iowa. Harry is listed at the Men's State Reformatory Listed (page 12 of 14) Harry Trapp, age 23. Occupation: Barber

5- 5 Jun 1917 World War I Draft Registration: Jasper, Iowa. Listed (page 175 of 213) Harry Lewis Trapp, age 21. Birthplace: Missouri, Birthdate: 8 Feb 1896. Home Address: Schuyler, Nebraska. Present Occupation: Convict Labor (Signed as: Harry Louis Trapp)

6- Social Security Death Index: Name: Gerald Cooper
SSN: 563-22-7921
Last Residence: 92703 Santa Ana, Orange, California, United States of America
Born: 8 Feb 1896
Died: Feb 1983
State (Year) SSN issued: California (Before 1951)

7- California Death Index:
Name: Gerald Melvin Cooper Social Security #: 563227921
Birth Date: 8 Feb 1896
Birthplace: Missouri
Death Date: 19 Feb 1983
Death Place: Orange
Mother's Maiden Name: Vaught