James Allan Cooper, of Saint Charles, MO, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the age of 65. Loving husband of 41 wonderful years to Darlene Cooper; beloved son of the late Gene and Ann Brawley; devoted father of Jimmy (Erin) Cooper and Jeannie (Greg) Pfeiffer; cherished grandpa of Noah Cooper, Macy Pfeiffer, Lucy Cooper, Max Pfeiffer, and Maya Pfeiffer; dear brother of Mike (Connie) Brawley and Linda (Bob) Whaley; brother-in-law of Cheryl (Tim) O'Neill. Preceded in death by his sister, Brenda Brawley, and his treasured aunt, Goldie Gilmore.
Jim was a devoted Christian who walked his faith every day through his love for his family and the friendship he offered to so many. You did not need to see the cross he proudly wore around his neck to see he was a good and faithful servant.
Jim grew up in South St. Louis and attended St. Louis Public Schools. While attending Roosevelt High School, he made life-long friends with fellow teammates and met, let’s put this in the form of a question: She was the love of his life, the mother of his children, and his best friend. Who is Darlene Hughes?
They married shortly after Darlene finished college and moved to St. Charles where Darlene began her teaching career. For thirty years, Jim was the proverbial “early to bed and early to rise” man who delivered “cake” for Dolly Madison and, after the business changed hands, Hostess. He picked up friends there as well. He had many stories to tell of his time there, few better than when his truck broke down on his way out of St. Louis to make deliveries and again on the way back after making his deliveries.
Jim and Darlene joined Faith United Methodist Church in St. Charles and for over thirty-seven years, Jim served in many capacities whether that meant participating in the Sunday worship service, reaching out a helping hand to both members and non-members, or climbing on the riding lawn mower in the heat of a St. Louis summer.
Jim and Darlene were the proud parents of Jimmy and Jeannie who both grew up to reflect the best of both their parents. Jim never missed a sporting event whether it was soccer or cheerleading or a dance recital. His love for and pride in his children (and later, grandchildren) was evident to all.
Family was everything to Jim, and family included not only his family but Darlene’s as well (he proved that by sitting through not one, not two, but three Lutheran confirmation services). Siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and anyone fortunate enough to marry into those families were all blessed to have him in their lives. No event was too large or too small to become a family celebration (notwithstanding his t-shirt reading “I’m late. I didn’t want to come.”), and vacationing with the Coopers was a guaranteed good time.
Jim both loved and hated all St. Louis professional sports teams: Cardinals Baseball, Blues Hockey, and for many years, the team that shall not be named – football. He was part of the Cardinal Nation and bled blue. Jerseys became an integral part of his wardrobe. He shared this love of sports with friends and family and became his grandchildren’s biggest fan. Jim logged thousands of hours in stadium seats, on the bleachers (cheering on St. Charles West), and on his sofa where he could release frustration by ripping the arms and legs off of his stuffed referee.
Darlene made lifelong friends during her years of teaching in the Francis Howell School District, and those friends she made became Jim’s friends as well. Playing co-ed softball, carrying the team through countless trivia nights, going to the Hog Ball, and attending events and celebrations for the children of these friends all made it onto Jim’s busy social calendar.
Jim and Darlene retired in 2009 and they filled the next ten years with church work, travelling and all things grandchildren-related. Whether it was a beach chair and a cooler or a cabin on a cruise ship, Jim enjoyed vacationing with family and friends, and they are blessed to have so many memories of those trips.
Jim always took pleasure in the simple everyday things in life: grilling, listening to music from the 60’s and 70’s (notably ZZ Top), an ice cold beer, his dogs – Butkus (Da Bears), Dolly (his surprise from Darlene and Jeannie), Daisy, and Cody, all things cacti, feeding and watching hummingbirds, Jeopardy, reading – not just his daily devotion but any book history-related, football pools, and fantasy football, reading the daily paper (carefully stacked and organized by section), pecan pie, and all fans – ceiling fans, standing fans, oscillating fans, handheld fans.
God tells us in Ecclesiastes there will be a “time to weep, and a time to laugh, and a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” The time to weep and mourn will pass, but the time we laughed and danced with Jim will be in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives. And we will keep Jim alive for Darlene, Jimmy and Erin, Jeannie and Greg, Noah, Macy, Lucy, Max (“my main man”) and Maya by sharing all the wonderful memories we have with them. And we will honor Jim by following his example so we may one day be told, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
The family is requesting memorial donations be given to The Way Church, P.O. Box 442 Wentzville, MO 63385 and/or The American Red Cross.