The Rev. Mr. Harold F. Cooper

The Rev. Mr. Harold F. Cooper

Passed on Tuesday, 06 March 2012

The Rev. Harold F. Cooper, known to all as Hal, died on the morning of March 6, 2012.  Hal was Minister Emeritus at West Yarmouth Congregational Church, having been the pastor there for 19 years. He retired in 2001 but returned in 2009 to serve as Transitional Pastor. Hal fought a valient, two year battle with pancreatic cancer.  He died in the same manner that he lived his life, with great dignity and strength.  From

 YARMOUTHPORT — Rev. Dr. Harold Frederic Cooper, of Yarmouthport, died peacefully on March 6 at his home surrounded by his loving family and his pastor. This followed a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer through which he demonstrated his deep faith, courage and continuing hope.

He was the loving and devoted husband of Phyllis G. (Viall) Cooper for 36 years. He was predeceased by his parents, Amy Sophia (Peterson) and Harold Cooper and his sister Corrine Dodge.

Born in Worcester on Feb. 11, 1938, his home was for many years in East Princeton, MA. Rev. Cooper graduated from Holden High School in 1954 and went on to U. Mass Amherst, graduating in 1957 with a degree in psychology. Continuing at U. Mass he earned his masters and doctorate in sociology. Rev. Cooper went on to receive his theological degree from Andover-Newton Theological School.

He spent a year at Mount Hermon School for Boys in Northfield, Mass., as chaplain, teacher of religious studies, coach and counselor. He returned to U. Mass as campus chaplain and during this time he was active in promoting peace during the Vietnam War and a civil rights activist, speaking out for human rights that included trips south and the Selma March.

Rev. Cooper was instrumental in developing the first black women's studies program at Mount Holyoke College and taught sociology at St. Francis College in Biddeford, ME. He continued his teaching of sociology at Cape Cod Community College and went on to become co-chairman of the Sociology Department while he taught at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA.

Rev. Cooper left teaching to pursue a new calling and became an active associate pastor of the First Congregational Church in Fall River. Eventually retiring to Cape Cod, he became the beloved pastor of the West Yarmouth Congregational Church for nineteen years before retiring in 2000 and being named Minister Emeritus upon his retirement.

During his Cape Cod ministry Rev. Cooper was continually active in the Barnstable Association Committee on Church Ministry, Mayflower Place advisory board, Cape Cod Times Needy Fund board and served as Moderator of the Massachusetts Conference of United Church of Christ as well as serving in other capacities for the Conference. While living on Cape Cod he was very active in the community and was proud of the fact he was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Yarmouth where he was named a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of helping to bring "A better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world."

After retirement, most important to Rev. Cooper was spending more time with family and friends. He loved the 4 - 5 months at his cottage in PEI, mowing, trimming and devouring lobster, mussels and oysters, watching the sunset from the deck, collecting sea glass with Phyllis on their many beach walks and kayaking on New London Bay. In between, being an avid reader, you would always find him with a book in his hand. At home, being able to donate blood to the Red Cross for over nineteen years was a source of pride. He loved watching the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, college basketball and football, making his "picks" every week.

Phyllis' Uncle Israel called and respected Hal as the family "Rabbi," a source of pride for him.

In addition to his wife Phyllis, survivors include two children, Diana Rowe and her husband George of Yarmouthport, David Cooper and his wife Debbie of West Yarmouth, grandchildren Amy and Travis Rowe, Brandy Cooper Bragaw and her husband Brad and Adam Cooper both of Virginia, two great-grandchildren, Cooper and Carson Bragaw of Virginia, sisters Carolyn Slongwhite and her husband Donald of Charlton, Mass., and Elaine Ives of Suffield, Conn., a brother-in-law James R. Viall and his wife Lynn of Southern California, and many nieces, nephews and grandnieces and nephews.

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