Slain lawyer remembered for generosity, intelligence

May 30, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore lawyer Marvin B. Cooper, who was robbed and slain near his home in North Baltimore's Guilford neighborhood Saturday, was remembered at his funeral yesterday as "an angel disguised as a man."

"It would be wrong to remember him as a victim cut down in his youth," Rabbi Chaim Landau said of the 45-year-old city native. He should be recalled instead, Mr. Landau suggested, as someone "who taught us that it's easy to be a good person."

Police said yesterday that they knew of no suspects in Mr. Cooper's death and were continuing to canvass the neighborhood in search of leads.

A standing-room-only congregation of more than 500 people filled the Levinson funeral home on Reisterstown Road for yesterday's services. They came to honor a man they knew as friend, teacher, real estate adviser, chess master, legislative aide and attorney -- a man described as someone who often volunteered his time for people and causes he believed in.

"It would take others many lifetimes to accomplish what he did in one," Rabbi Landau said. "People were his hobby -- his very life. . . . He was an encyclopedia of knowledge from baseball to Beethoven and everything in between."

Mr. Cooper was late for everything, Rabbi Landau said, because he loved talking to people and helping them. "He taught English to Russians, chess to children. Jew or non-Jew, it didn't matter. He was not an ordinary man, but an angel disguised as a man. He reached out and touched so many."

Mr. Cooper was killed Saturday as he returned home from a meeting of the Catonsville Chess Club. He was parking his car in the 200 block of Chancery Road about 1:30 a.m. when he was shot in the stomach. He died at Johns Hopkins Medical Center two hours later.

Mr. Cooper told police he had been robbed.

"There are no suspects," police spokesman Robert W. Weinhold said yesterday. "We are following every lead and canvassing the area."

The Police Department is not treating this killing differently from any other homicide, Officer Weinhold said. Homicide detectives "work diligently in all their cases," he said, "and will continue their follow-up" until a suspect is identified and pursued.

Meanwhile, residents should let someone know if they are going to be returning home late, Officer Weinhold said, adding that it is safer to walk in groups than walk alone. "You have to realize anything can happen anywhere," he said.

Yesterday, the neighborhood of stately brick and stone homes, landscaped lawns and tree-lined sidewalks seemed eerily calm in light of the violence that had occurred there 36 hours earlier.

Children frolicked at a lawn party at one home near the crime scene while others sunbathed in a park across the street from Mr. Cooper's Greenway apartment building. Doves seemed content to amble rather than take flight through the neighborhood.

Mr. Cooper's brother, Dr. Robert Menachem Cooper, said in his tear-filled eulogy yesterday that there should have been no birds at all.

"Why should the sun come up today?" he said. "God, why are you letting the birds sing? It can't be. It shouldn't be."

When their father died of cancer last month, Dr. Cooper said, he looked to his brother for support, solace and comfort. "He gave all of that to me and said it is not a time for crying. But now it is!"

Dr. Cooper said it is sometimes hard to have faith and that his brother's good deeds "should be a shield for us all" in a hostile world.

"He has peace. We have to find peace, too. God help us," he said.

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