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Val Cooper’s wild about Harry and horses

Val Cooper is a third-generation Californian who has lived in La Jolla for 25 years. Originally from Los Angeles, she graduated from Cal State Northridge. Though Cooper studied public health, her lifelong passion has been showing horses on the California hunter and jumper circuit.

When she is not riding and traveling, board commitments in San Diego keep her busy. Cooper sits on the boards at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Old Globe Theater, Vista Hill and Planned Parenthood.

“Being involved in the community has given me such fulfillment in being able to do some good in what I believe is the most beautiful city in the world,” she said.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I met my husband close to 25 years ago in La Jolla. It was love at first sight, and I left Los Angeles to be with him in what we both call God’s favorite place — La Jolla.

What makes this town special to you?

La Jolla is such a pretty setting with the most interesting, fun and delightful residents who are truly warm and friendly. I just love walking in the Village and running into friends. It is small town in a big city.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I wish Girard Avenue was closed to cars and that the middle of the street had a parklike setting with cafes that were full of residents and tourists. To be real greedy, I would love it if the bottom portion of Girard to the ocean was a park, and underneath there was underground parking.

Who or what inspires you?

My inspiration is my husband, Harry, who truly amazes me with his stories of the beginning of the first computer language, Fortran.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Of course my Harry, and I would love to have Wyatt Cooper (Harry’s deceased brother who is Anderson Cooper’s father), Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Madame Currie, Martin Luther King and Marlene Dietrich.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I just started reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson.

What is your most-prized possession?

I would say my husband, but I don’t think he will think it’s funny that he is a possession, so for that matter, my horse BB. To be totally frivolous, I would pick my collection of shoes and clothes.

What do you do for fun?

I love to work out, but my true passion is riding and jumping my horse BB (short for Broadway Bound because of my love of theater). I love attending our wonderful regional theaters in San Diego. We are so lucky to have The Old Globe Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse right here in our backyard, plus our San Diego Opera is fabulous.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

That’s being born from the best parents and having a wonderful childhood in Los Angeles. I’m not sure if you call it an accomplishment, but to have your mother as your best friend is something I treasure each day. She is the most amazing and kind lady.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

It goes along like this being wonderful, but I do not worry about it because it gets better.