FAITHFULNESS #6: Remembering James E. Cooper

by Wayne S. Walker and Others

Synopsis: Wayne Walker and several other brethren offer personal recollections upon the passing of brother James E. Cooper.

James Edward Cooper was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, on March 10, 1929, the oldest son of James Albert and Rose Eddison (Walker) Cooper. After graduating from David Lipscomb College (now University) in Nashville, TN, with an English degree, Jim became a minister with the Churches of Christ and started preaching in 1947. While preaching in Kentucky he met Anna Aline Bishop of Eubank and married her on September 7, 1953. They had four sons, Peter, Paul, Patrick, and Perry, and one daughter, Pamela. James will be remembered as a father with unwavering faith in his religious beliefs.

I first met Jim in the late 1960s and very early 1970s when I was a teenager growing up in Hillsboro, OH, and he came to work with the church in Mason, OH. We would see each other frequently in area gospel meetings and often talked about our ancestors—his mother's maiden name was Walker, but while our families originally came from the same general part of the country, we could find no direct link. After I began preaching in 1974, I recall hearing Jim at North Ridgeville, OH, in 1975, again at the Thayer St. lectures in Akron, OH, in 1977, and then at Hilliard, OH, in 1990. We may have seen him and Alene from time to time at the Florida College lectures too. For many years he edited a little bulletin-like paper entitled Words of Life which he purchased from Paul Williams and sold to Glenn Seaton.

I don't know where all Jim lived and preached after he left Mason. I believe that he labored with churches in Elizabethtown, KY, and Foley, AL. Even when I first knew him, he suffered with arthritis, walking with a noticeable limp and using his hands with some degree of difficulty. When I first complained about having problems with typing due to my Parkinson's disease, he sent me an e-mail about a computer program that would take dictation and set it in print.

Aline died on February 22, 2018. Jim passed away in Lebanon, Tennessee, at the age of 89 on Sunday, May 27, 2018. Preceded in death by his wife, his parents, three brothers, Samuel, Oscar and Ralph, and one sister, Bettie, he was survived by his children, one brother George, three grandchildren, three step grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and three step great-grandchildren. The funeral was held on June 2 at Morris and Hislope Funeral Home in Science Hill, KY, with burial in Lakeside Memorial Gardens.

Stan Adams also offers the following observations:

I got to know James Cooper during my time with the East Hill church in Pensacola, Fl. I always knew James to be ready and willing to help anyone who needed him. He was loved by the members at Foley. Sister Hulsey especially had a love for James and Aline. James was always willing to give advice and share his knowledge with others. Sister Hulsey's son, Gary, was given some of James' personal sermons, to help him in his life of service to the Lord. Although Gary never preached full time, he profited from sitting at James' feet. James edited a bulletin that other congregations also used. I do not know the arrangement, but he would put their information on the bulletin so it would be more personal. He did an excellent job of writing, and through that venue, he being dead will continue to speak through the truthfulness of his articles and his life. He was a kind man, but he was firm in his convictions and uncompromising with the truth. He and others from his generation are passing on to their reward and it behooves all who remain to "stand in the way, and fill the hedge" with the precious "old paths wherein is the right way."

Finally, Dan King shared these comments:

In May of 2008 I was invited to conduct a gospel meeting at the Hickory Ridge congregation in Lebanon, TN. At the time my parents worshiped with that church. They were there for several years, and often spoke highly of brother Jim Cooper, who was also a member there and an integral part of the work. He frequently taught Bible classes and preached as opportunities presented themselves there. Ron Hackney was the regular evangelist, but when he was out of town, brother Cooper usually preached. Jim and his wife had moved to the Lebanon, TN area to live with his daughter and her husband since they were both in ill health. During that week I was invited to the home of their daughter and spent the afternoon visiting and talking with brother Jim. It was a singular pleasure and a personal treasure to have been able to do so. This was the first time I had the opportunity to meet him and get to know him, even though I had heard of him all through my years of preaching, and read his excellent articles in church bulletins and brotherhood papers. Unfortunately, he spent most of his time at that point in a wheel chair. This did not, however, curtail his efforts in the work of the gospel. He wrote for the local church bulletin and preached and taught from the wheel chair while sufficient health remained. He was a warm and gentle soul who clearly loved the work of preaching and teaching, and especially the task of writing articles on religious topics. He was well informed, because he was well read. His mind was sharp and clear, even though he was advanced in age. Several times during that week he engaged me on various subjects of interest to Christians in the brotherhood generally. In each instance he was plainly on the right side of every issue that was raised between us, and he demonstrated a mastery of the arguments involved and of the Scriptures that dealt with the matter. I was well impressed with him both as a preacher/teacher, and as a faithful Christian gentleman. My Dad (who is now also deceased) and my mother both thought very highly of him. They came to love and respect him and his precious wife (who was suffering from dementia) as well as their daughter. Often they spoke of how loving and caring the church at Hickory Ridge was while they attended there. There is no doubt that the Coopers were central to making that congregation of the Lord's people what it was during the time they attended in Lebanon.

Author Bio: Wayne has preached for the Elm Grove church located in rural Marion County, IL, near Iuka, for nine years. He can be reached at