James Cooper ’58
James “Jim” H. Cooper passed away three days shy of his 86th birthday with his wife and daughter by his side.
He was born on October 26, 1936, in Grand Rapids. He graduated from Central High School and went on to Hope College where he met Darlene Elzinga of Chicago. They both graduated with education degrees and were married in June of 1958.
Jim earned a master’s degree in administration from Michigan State University and was immediately hired by the Grosse Pointe Public school system where he spent his entire education career as a teacher, athletic director, assistant principal, and principal.
During his working years, he liked to relax, laugh, and spend time playing golf and snowmobiling with close friends at their country house in Gaylord.
Jim and Darlene were fortunate to retire early and move to Traverse City in 1994. He served the Presbyterian Church as a deacon and was involved in numerous activities with Newcomers where they made many new friends.
In their 30 years of retirement, they were able to take several trips to Europe and around the US. To him, the best part of retirement though, was getting to watch his grandchildren grow up during their countless visits, including 28 Christmases. He was immensely proud of them and the fine young adults they became.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff at French Manor Terra and Hospice of Michigan for their kind, compassionate care. Jim was known for his sense of humor. The comfort they provided allowed him to still see humor in his daily routine. Also, the family would like to express their sincere gratitude to all his visitors that really improved his outlook during these last difficult months. It is evident that he will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jim is survived by his wife of 64 years, Darlene ’58; daughter Kimberly (Jack) Miner II of Traverse City; grandson Jack (Kendall) Miner III of Denver and granddaughter Alison Miner of Chicago; and brothers David ’64 (Anne) Cooper and Richard (Roslyn) Cooper and several nieces and nephews.