Fred Cooper

Published 8:25 am Friday, August 17, 2018

Fred Cooper

Much like his Shelby County News column, “Cooper’s Corner”, and his long-running Alabama Public Television show, “Advances in Health”, had been, Fred Cooper was unexpectedly and without much fanfare cancelled August 14th, 2018.

He reluctantly leaves his wife of 34 years, Suzie, to whom, legend has it, he introduced himself in 1982 by saying “I’m never getting married again”. She made every day since that first meeting a joy.

An only child, perhaps by design, he leaves also members of Suzie’s family, who he hopes loved him as much as he loved them. And while there were no children from the union, there are two very spoiled cats, one of whom is probably wandering around the house right now trying to find the guy with the comfortable lap to nap in.

There is the small cadre of friends who discussed matters of dire world importance (who should have been consulted and listened to) and retold stories of past adventures, some going back more than half a century, over coffee and lunch at Panera. Hopefully, they will miss his contributions to the conversation and more importantly, his ability to get there first and grab the table by the window.

There are also a few former work colleagues, college classmates, and his best buddy from high school that will no longer get the occasional email. There might have been a larger number of friends, but he steadfastly refused to join Facebook.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1943, he grew up in Montgomery and graduated from Lee High School. A scholarship led him to Alabama College in Montevallo and his life-long love of writing. Following graduation and a stint as a teacher at Shelby County High, he did his required time on active duty in the Air Force and ended up in Birmingham where he spent five years as a Family Court probation officer, five years as spokesman for the Health Department, and then, lured by a pay increase perhaps due to two Masters degrees and maybe not by any discernible skills, he joined the Dean’s staff at UAB’s School of Health Related Professions from where he eventually retired. While there, he earned a faculty appointment, greatly pleasing Suzie because now she now had something identifiable she could tell people who asked just what it was he did at UAB.

Friends assumed following his retirement in 1999, he would begin concentrating on his writing, which, of course, didn’t happen. Doing nothing suited him well, and he was quite good at it.

There will be a visitation on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. followed by a graveside service at 11 a.m. at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel in Tuscaloosa, a town where he never lived but can now be located.

In lieu of flowers, if so inclined, please make contributions to the University of Montevallo with “Fred and Suzie Cooper Student Assistance Fund” in the memo line (University of Montevallo, Station 6215, Montevallo, AL 35115), or to the Birmingham Humane Society (300 Snow Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209).

A celebration of life will be announced at a future date with no mourning allowed. Then, at some point in the future, he’ll be joined by Suzie where he will remain permanently by her side where he belongs.

(As a kindness to his family, Fred thoughtfully made his own arrangements ahead of time, including writing this obituary.)