James Cooper

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dr. James Franklin Cooper, 77, formerly of St. Louis, died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at his residence in Charleston, Mo.

He was born Jan. 24, 1934, in Charleston to the late Rev. Allen Britten Cooper and May Lawrence Cooper. He lived in Mississippi County and was educated in the Charleston public schools, graduating from Charleston High School in l952. At that time he entered Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he completed his undergraduate degree. Later he completed his M.D. degree from Baylor University College of Medicine, where he studied under Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Stanley Crawford.

Dr. Cooper established his career in St. Louis, practicing out of City Hospital. In 1967, Dr. Cooper, a captain in the U.S. Army, served as Vietnam surgeon at the hospital at Bien Wah for a year where his team performed 577 surgical procedures one month. He was then transferred as medical officer to Gen. Herman Westmoreland. At the end of his Vietnam experience he returned to St. Louis and continued his work as metropolitan police surgeon for a number of years. For 25 years he served on the staff of DePaul Hospital where he later was named chief of surgery. The American College of Surgeons later recognized the work he had done by adding his name to the permanent Vietnam Vascular Registry of Surgery (1965-1979). For many years Dr. Cooper was the medical director for St. Louis Labor Health Institute at Teamsters Local No. 688.

At his retirement he moved back to Charleston and served as a medical professional on Indian reservations in Oklahoma, Arizona and Washington on temporary basis where a medical doctor was needed. Dr. Cooper had many interests, including music and the collection of Russian icons and antiques.

Dr. Cooper is survived by five sisters, Julia Cooper Warren and Betty Cooper Hearnes, both of Charleston, Mo., Dr. Jennie Cooper and Jane Cooper Stacy, both of Cape Girardeau, Dr. Rose Marie Cooper Jordan of Greer, S.C.; also many nieces and nephews.

One brother, Allen A. Cooper; a sister, Velna Cooper Brown; two brothers-in-law, Gov. Warren E. Hearnes and Audley A. Brown; a niece, Lynn Cooper Hearnes; and two nephews, Harry Warren III and Gregory Lee Crawford also preceded him in death.

Visitation will be held from 1 p.m. until the funeral hour at 2 p.m. today at the First Baptist Church in Charleston. Officiating will be the Rev. Gerald Collier of Ironton, Mo. The organist will be Mary Miller of Cape Girardeau.

Pallbearers will be his nieces and nephews.

Missouri Military Honor Guard will conduct graveside rites at the IOOF Cemetery. Interment will follow under the direction of McMikle Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be given to charity of choice.

Online condolences may be shared at www.mcmiklefuneralhome.com.