Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. There is no better example of that approach to life than the case of 85 year old Stanley Cooper Jr., of Tunkhannock, PA.
After graduating from high school in 1942, Cooper was drafted into the military and then served his country until 1946. At the time, his father was entering the fly tying business, and asked his son to join him after he was discharged from the armed services. His father then taught him everything he knows about fly tying.
Business was steady for the father/son team, but really picked up after they began tying flies for Abercrombie & Fitch, known at the time for strictly fishing and hunting related items, as well as Orvis.
Cooper, who has tied well over one million flies over five decades as a commercial tier now only ties around seven dozen flies each day. A drop in the bucket compared to the 10 to 12 dozen flies he tied daily in the past. In order to pay the bills, “you’ve got to tie at least 10 to 12 dozen per day. Years ago, we tied a fly that was called Jassid, a very, very easy fly to tie. I tied 20 dozen of those a day.”
Said Cooper on continuing to tie commercially well into his 80s, ‘When it gets to be work, I’m going to retire.’”