Willis Ray Cooper - age: 89
(March 09, 1932 to January 18, 2022
Fort Myers, FL And Old Orchard, Maine
A celebration of life service will be held at the Salvation Army Corp, 2 Sixth Street, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064 on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 10am.
FORT MYERS - W. Ray Cooper, aged 89, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends on January 18, 2021 in Fort Myers, Florida. He was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on March 9, 1932; the son of Willis and Jean Cooper of Lynn, Massachusetts.
He was a long time resident of Shelburne, Vermont; Old Orchard Beach, Maine; and Fort Myers, Florida. He leaves behind three daughters, and one son. Kim Cooper of South Burlington, Vermont; Melody Cooper Mishkit and her husband Neil of Manchester, New Hampshire; Tammy Putnam and her husband Mark of Pella, Iowa; and William Cooper and his wife Melinda of South Burlington, Vermont. He leaves behind seven grandchildren: Isaac Cooper Mishkit, Eli Willis Mishkit, Noah Eaton Mishkit, Emma June (Putnam) Fearrington, Greta Dailey (Putnam) Morgan, Sierra Danae Cooper, and Teagan Davis Cooper. He also leaves five great grandchildren: Myles Ray Mishkit, Emmett Douglas Mishkit, Logan Joseph Mishkit, Vivian Mae Mishkit & Christopher Luke Morgan.
The love of his life June, his wife for 49 years and his sweetheart for many more, predeceased him in 2002. He is also predeceased by his brother James Bruce Cooper, and his sister Marjorie Melakian.
An Insurance Agent in Vermont for 40 years, he began his career upon graduation from Lynn English High School in Lynn, Massachusetts. He was with the Ervin Hill Agency and the Endicott Agency. He attended Northeastern University, served in the US Army during the Korean War training with the 101st Airborne Division, and later served in the North Atlantic (SUNAC). He also served at Ft. Eustis, Virginia as an instructor at the Transportation Corps.
He joined the Home Insurance Company in Boston as a Marine Underwriter in 1954. In 1957 he was transferred to the Home's Springfield office as a Multiple Lines Special Agent. He was a past President of the Western Massachusetts Field Club.
Cooper joined Smith Bell and Thompson of Burlington, Vermont in 1961, and served there as Vice President and General Manager of insurance operations until 1981 when he started the Cooper Insurance Services, Ltd., Agency of South Burlington, Vermont. His children Kim and Bill have since succeeded him in the business.
He was a past President of the Independent Agents of Vermont, and Director of Independent Insurance Agents of America, where he served as Vermont's representative to America's foremost trade organization for 13 years in the 80's and 90's. He held several chairmanships. He served the Professional Insurance Agents of New England as a Director from 1979 to 1981, was a past Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, and was a past President of the Champlain Camp of Gideons. He also served as a Chairman of the Trustees, Deacons, and Elders at North Avenue Alliance Church in Burlington, Vermont. He is a recipient of the Frank Alfred Award from Vermont Agents, the National Magazine Award from the Hartford Insurance Group, and the Frank L. Brigham Award from the Vermont Insurance Professionals.
His sense of humor was recognizable to many, and his love for the Lord Jesus was felt as he attempted to spread joy to those he met and worked with. He often said how full his life had been, and how fortunate he was that he had experienced so much of what in his early years, he could only dream about.
It's fitting to remember the wonderful friends and loved ones with whom he shared fellowship; North Avenue Alliance Church, Shell Point Village Church, Cypress Lake United Methodist Church, and his church in Maine, The Salvation Army.
His family would like to thank his special friends and neighbors for their love and care; Karen, Cynthia, Ellie, Joanne, Al, and Jim.