James (Jim) Cooper is described as having “a heart as wide as the sea” when it came to showing compassion and love to those who were suffering. During his ministry he had a special place in his heart for those who served in the military and for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Cooper’s ministry was cut short by Parkinson’s Disease, which he struggled with for 15 years. Cooper died on December 14 at Faith Hospice in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Cooper graduated from Calvin College and from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1973. He served his Lord wholeheartedly as pastor of the following Christian Reformed churches: Hope CRC in Hull, Iowa; Bethel CRC in Waupun, Wisc.; Third CRC in Zeeland, Mich.; and Ada (Mich.) CRC. Cooper retired in 2005.
Highlights of Cooper’s ministry include baptizing his children and grandchildren, officiating at the weddings of several of his children, serving on the Calvin College board of trustees, working as chaplain for Zeeland’s volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, and receiving the Gold Award for 25 years of service to the Calvinist Cadet Corp. After his retirement he served on the board of the Parkinson’s Association of West Michigan.
Cooper’s hobbies included fishing, traveling, reading, and woodworking.
Cooper is survived by Carolyn, his devoted caretaker and beloved wife of 45 years; his children Rachel and Brad Aupperlee, Joel and Amanda Cooper, Mara and Billy Norden, and Daniel and Julie Cooper, and by eight grandchildren.