The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Wally Cooper: A life in sales 2012.09.19

Written by David Green.

wally cooperBy DAVID GREEN

It started off with newspapers in his home town of Gunnison, Col. Next came Bible story books, followed by Fuller Brush products, “Successful Farming” magazine and finally postal uniforms.

Wallace “Wally” Cooper of rural Sand Creek summarizes his career this way: “I’ve been in sales all my life.”

Wally grew up in Gunnison where his father owned a ranch. Both of his grandfathers were homesteaders in the state. Wally suffered a life-changing accident when he was eight years old. He was severely burned and the incident left an enormous amount of scar tissue on his back—a condition that later prevented him from taking many jobs.

After he graduated from Gunnison High School, Wally and his brother took over the franchise for the distribution of the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper in Gunnison. The boys would drive to the airport to pick up the papers, then prepare them for the delivery kids.

He left Gunnison to attend college in Tennessee—Madison College, part of the Seventh Day Adventist church. Eventually he joined a friend in Georgia to sell Bible story books and that was the start of 43-year career.

Wally figures a typical salesperson would stick with the job for three or four years, but he continued for more than four decades.

“That was a lot more than most,” he said. “I wasn’t very good when I started, but I ended up being very good at it.”

There was a reason he stayed with what his church called a “literature evangelist.”

“I really had no choice in the matter,” Wally explained.

It was the accidental burn. Anytime he needed to take a physical for a factory job, he was turned away.

“I knew I couldn’t get very many jobs,” he said. “I did what I had to do.”

Wally sold books in Georgia for five years, and during that time he met his future wife, Dorothy Mae Covell of Morenci. They married and moved to Michigan to help care for Dorothy’s mother.

He brought his book sales job with him. Wally did some door-to-door sales in Georgia—a lot of hard work—but most of his career involved placing the books in doctor’s offices and other locations.

Every book includes response cards and his sales efforts would involve following up on those who sent in a card.

“You can go door-to-door,” he said, “but it’s better to go where someone is interested.”

Wally says that he always sold more than one thing at a time. For example, he became a representative for “Successful Farming” magazine. He would receive the subscription list from the publisher and contact readers about renewals. He also made calls to non-subscribers, with the advice to contact farmers before noon. After that they might be out in the fields and wouldn’t want to talk.

Eventually subscriptions were handled via the internet and that job disappeared.

Wally began selling for the Arslan Uniform company, supplier of clothing for postal service employees, and he visited post offices from Jackson to Toledo. Once again, the internet has pretty much killed off that enterprise. He has only a few regular customers who still buy from him.

Wally is also still selling Fuller Brush Company products, with an inventory that goes far beyond brushes. A new product book with sales items comes out every month and he places books in a few locations in the area. He still supplies a few regular customers who order products.

“Most of my customers are within four or five miles,” he said, including a few in Morenci.

Wally put in a few years working as a security guard on weekends at factories.

“You never get a holiday off,” he said, because when the factory is closed, he has to be on the job.

He worked for the Dura Corporation until it closed its operation in Adrian, then worked at Merillat Industries until it closed.

Dorothy died in 2006 after 38 and a half years and his second wife of three years, Patty, now lives in Indiana where she is near family to assist with medical problems.

Wally’s arthritis forced him to give up his book sales, but he receives retirement pay—something he earned after reaching 20 years of service with the church.

“I liked sales after a while, but when I started it was rough,” Wally said. “I liked meeting with people.”

The array of people he met over his career was varied and interesting.

“You can’t imagine,” he said. “I spent most of the time in Toledo. All kinds of people there.”

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