87, passed away on December 28, 2013 in Virginia Beach, VA. George Cooper was born on November 27, 1926 in Enfield, North Carolina. He was the third of four children born to Louise Cooper Coker and Charlie Cooper.
The family moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1936, where George attendedpublic schools, graduating from Brooklyn Automotive High School in 1945, with the intention of becoming a mechanic. Instead, after a series of other jobs he joined the New York City Housing Authority. Making good use of the city’s civil service system, George held a series of different positions before retiring as a superintendent in 1980 after 30 years of service. After six months of retirement, he returned to work as a maintenance supervisor for Pergament, a home improvement store.
Nine years later, he retired for a second time and relocated to Virginia Beach, VA and joined the First Church of Christ Holiness Church in Norfolk.! In 1947, he met the love of his life, Marie Fields. He never tired of telling the family what she was wearing on that day – a plaid skirt, rose sweater, bobby socks and black and white oxford shoes. Two years later they married and began a life together that lasted for over 64 years and produced two children, Linda and Keith.
Throughout his life, George was involved in the church. Never one to just sit on a pew, he looked for opportunities to become involved. No job was too small for him to tackle from routine maintenance to teaching a class. Although serving as a Deacon enabled him to use his organizational and leadership skills, working with young people was his passion. Through many years of service in different capacities in the Sunday School, he afforded youngsters an opportunity to begin developing the skills needed to take their turn in leading church activities and in other aspects of their life, especially public speaking.
George was a fan of the “real” Brooklyn Dodgers and loved to talk about watching Jackie Robinson play the game or seeing Joe Louis in a ticker tape parade after winning a championship boxing match. In retirement, he had enough leisure time to take up fishing, have a vegetable garden for every season and became an excellent baker. The baked goods and vegetables often found their way into the mailboxes of neighbors or given away to friends. And he and Marie had their own ministry of providing fresh vegetables to other senior citizens who weren’t able to get to the store as often as they would have liked.
Although he did not have an opportunity to go beyond high school, George had a lifelong passion for learning and he believed that obtaining an education was a key factor in improving one’s life. An avid reader, he kept up on current events and was always able to engage in a discussion on just about any topic. Looking to the future, he never missed a chance to encourage anyone – child or adult – to position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that life has to offer. And in his view, education was the key that would unlock that door. That belief has proven true in the lives of his children, grandchildren and many others who have been willing to seize the day nd make the necessary sacrifices which enabled them to reap the benefits of a better life.
One of his most rewarding moments was receiving a letter from a young lady he encouraged throughout her high school years. The letter thanked him for challenging her to do her best even though she attended school in a sub-par school district. And it included a newspaper article about her becoming the first recipient of a doctoral degree in electrical engineering fromPolytechnical Institute in New York. Those were the moments that would really make him smile. George was called home to his heavenly reward on December 28, 2013, after a brief illness.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Sherman and sisters Rosa Lee Clark and Carmela Ashe all of New York. Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Marie; daughter Linda Cooper of Scottsdale, AZ; son Keith Cooper (Rachelle) of Northbrook, IL; five grandchildren, David Brown (Tahirah); Kyle, Danielle, Jared and Kara Cooper; and two great-granddaughters Nylah and Nenah Brown. He is also survived by nieces Doris Townsend, Joanne Anderson, Rev. Janice Cooper Braxton, nephew Barry Douglas (Sheila) and a host of other family and friends.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to: American Cancer Society, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1210, Chicago, IL 60601 (800) 227-2345, www.cancer.org Memorial in honor of George Cooper.
A Graveside Service will be held at 10:00am, Monday, January 27th, 2014 at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary and Memorial Park, 6500 East Bell Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.