Dr. J. Dan Cooper, the pastor of our Calvary Baptist Church family from 1980-1990, died this past Thursday evening (June 4). As many of you know, the last several years of Dr. Cooper’s life were quite challenging for him and his family as he lived with ongoing health issues related to a stroke which he suffered in March of 1988. As many of you also know, Dr. Cooper provided our Calvary family with dedicated, visionary, and Christ-like leadership during his tenure as Calvary’s pastor.
I am personally indebted to and grateful for Dan Cooper. When I was a very young pastor at the Lexington Avenue Baptist Church in Danville, Kentucky, I called Dr. Cooper (whom I had never met at that time) and asked him if he would meet with me and share with me some advice about carrying out the responsibilities of being a pastor. Dan not only graciously agreed to meet with me, but he bought me lunch and told me that he would be more than glad to meet with me again. In short, Dan became a mentor to me. And while I was the pastor of the LABC in Danville, Dan was the guest preacher for a spring revival that we held at the church. Little did I know at that time, that one day I would be called to be the pastor of Calvary following Dan’s pastorate (which was cut much too short because of his stroke). But what I did already know at that time was that Dan Cooper was the type of Christian leader and pastor who would encourage and mentor young pastors. To this day, I am grateful to God for Dan Cooper’s ministry to me.
In coming days, there will be a memorial service for Dr. Cooper at Calvary – a service at which we will celebrate Dan’s life and give thanks to our gracious God for the gift of Dan’s life. For now, I know that you will join me in keeping Dan’s family – his wife Marilyn, his son John and his family, and his daughter Dana and her family – in your thoughts and prayers.
May God bless the Coopers and our Calvary family as we grieve the loss of a beloved pastor and friend.