He was a fixture on the recreation scene in Clarenville and Shoal Harbour many years ago.
The late Ted Cooper dedicated his time and energy to ensure recreational programs for the community and inclusion of the disabled in sports and community programs.
On the weekend, his work was honoured when the multi-purpose room at the new Clarenville Events Centre was named for him.
Several members of the Cooper family, along with members of the former Shoal Harbour Recreation Association, were on hand at the Events Centre Sunday afternoon for the official dedication of the Ted Cooper room.
Cooper’s son Dave was delighted that his father’s name will once again be recognized.
“It’s nice to see this room being dedicated in dad’s memory,” says Cooper. “He was a great individual and he gave a lot to the community. Our family is delighted to finally see this dedication take place.”
“The name Ted Cooper will always be remembered. Words are not invented to express our gratitude for your tremendous involvement in our community. You will be missed.”
That was how his long-time friend, Wilson Wiseman, remembered Cooper when he delivered the eulogy at Cooper’s funeral in 1989.
Cooper died on June 14. He was just 52 years old.
His friends remembered him as “a 52-year-old-teenager.”
In an interview with The Packet at the time, Wiseman commented, “It’s hard to pinpoint any particular thing because everything about him was just so jovial and easy-going – and I don’t mean that in a light-hearted way.
“Ted was the type of individual that made friends with everybody. There was a way about him, personality wise. He was a community-minded person. He went and did the things he had to do and he didn’t offend people – like a job that had to be done and he did it.
“Everything was a pleasure for him to do.”
When he died his death was front page new in the Packet.
“He was an outstanding example of the spirit of volunteerism,” the paper reported.
The list of organizations he was involved with were many. He dedicated his time and energy to ensure recreational programs for the community, and activities for the disabled.
He was a former chairman of the Shoal Harbour Recreation Committee, president of the Shoal Harbour Men’s Softball League, and committee member of the junior hockey association.
The wharf at Shoal Harbour was the result of his efforts over several years, to secure funds for the project that provided employment for many people during its construction, and a welcomed facility for the town.
As a tribute to him, the flag at the wharf was lowered to half-mast on the day Cooper was laid to rest. And in his memory, donations were accepted for the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Four years prior to his death, Cooper was recognized as the citizen of the year for Shoal Harbour.
In addition to his contributions to recreation, community facilities and his work on behalf of the disabled, Cooper was also a member of the Newfoundland Firefighters Association, the Canadian Firefighters Association and the Newfoundland and Labrador Parks and Recreation Association.
He served with the Clarenville Volunteer Fire Department for 11 years – starting in 1975 and ending just four months before his death in 1989. Cooper only left the department when ill health forced him to.
When he retired he was made an honorary fireman in recognition of his contribution and unselfish dedication.
“During the 10 years that Ted was a member of the Clarenville Fire Department I found him to be very devoted to his profession as a firefighter. He believed in being well-trained and any knowledge he acquired he was more than willing to pass along to our younger firefighters,” recalled then fire chief Bruce Strong.
And his knowledge extended beyond basic fire-fighting techniques.
Cooper had courses in fire training, breathing apparatus, marine emergency duties, search and rescue, marine survival procedures, business management and supervision, forest fire suppression techniques, first aid and CPR.
He also took part in our other activities such as social events and fund raising. Ted always seemed to make himself available,” said Strong at the time.
“He made an impression. A lot of people will come and do things and they’re never remembered for it and they never make an impression. But it seems like everything Ted did, he made an impression,” said Wiseman.
Following Cooper’s death, the community centre in Shoal Harbour was named the Ted Cooper Centre.
The Shoal Harbour community centre was eventually sold to private interests and the name, Ted Cooper, was one of the casualties.
However, he was never far from the memory of those who knew of his community service.
When the Clarenville Events Centre opened, council and the town’s recreation association, decided it would be fitting to name the multipurpose room after Cooper.
At centre ice on Sunday, a portrait of Ted Cooper was unveiled by members of the family as a near packed stadium applauded. Following that a reception was held in the room where many former friends of Cooper greeted family and friends.
His son Dave says the many people who came up to him during the game and offered friendly comments about his father touched him.
“Many people didn’t make the connection that I was his son. But quite a few came up to me at the reception and during the game to offer friendly comments about dad,” he says. “It was nice and I’m glad so many of the family were able to make it.”