The Rev. John R. Cooper, 90, Episcopal minister

November 02, 2003|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

The Rev. John R. Cooper, who served in ministry at many Episcopal churches throughout Central Maryland, died Thursday at the University of Maryland Medical Center of injuries related to a recent car accident. The Bel Air resident was 90.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Cooper graduated from Boys' Latin School in 1933 and from St. John's College in Annapolis in 1937.

Mr. Cooper's life from that point focused on the ministry. He enrolled at Virginia Theological Seminary, earning a bachelor's degree in divinity in 1940 and a master's degree in divinity in 1970.

In 1944, he married the former Marcella Swain, who died in 1997.

His ministry work began at St. Paul's Chapel in Baltimore and Ascension Church in Westminster. In 1948, he moved to Bel Air to serve as rector of Emmanuel Church and Holy Trinity in Churchville.

Mr. Cooper returned to Baltimore in 1956 to minister at Memorial Church in Bolton Hill, where he remained for 10 years.

Over the next 30 years, he would become the vicar of Prince of Peace Church in Fallston, help establish St. Alban's Anglican Church at Wilna and serve on the clergy staff at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Abingdon.

Mr. Cooper's family described him as a man of principle.

"I learned a lot about standing up for what you believe in from him," said his son, Philip T.D. Cooper of Auburn, Calif. "He stood for excellence, the things that were really well-done and beautiful."

He was also known among family and friends for his sense of humor and wit. "He always would draw cartoons next to my homework," recalled his daughter, Marcella Chiarello of Davis, Calif. "He had a quick mind up to the very end."

In 1999, he married the former Doris Ranneberger of Bel Air.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's Church, 1 St. Mary's Church Road, Abingdon.

In addition to his wife and two children, he is survived by three stepdaughters, Gail Richmond of Mt. Vernon, Va., Nancy Henderson of Riverside, Calif., and Joy Mayfield of Nashville, Tenn.; two stepsons, Blair Ranneberger of Willards and George Ranneberger of Bel Air; a granddaughter; 11 step-grandchildren; and four step-great-grandchildren. A son, John Cooper, died in 1962.

Donations may be sent to The Rev. John R. Cooper Memorial Fund, Forest Hill Bank, 130 S. Bond St., P.O. Box 1307, Bel Air 22101.

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