Born September 26, 1942, James entered into the presence of Jesus on June 15, 2020. James was born in Okemah, Oklahoma, in the home of his grandfather to James Lowell Cooper, Sr. and Marie Cooper who later were the administrators of the Drumright nursing home.
James was an outstanding student at Drumright High School earning a 4.0 average and was both the math award and the science award winner. In his senior year he led the state in basketball scoring and was named an All-State player.
James received a basketball scholarship to Oklahoma State University in 1961, playing under the well-renowned Henry Iba. He was graduated in 1964 with a degree in History and English. While yet in college, James married his high school sweetheart, Linda Ann Oliver, on June 30, 1961.
After graduation, while working on a Master's degree and pastoring a small church in Drumright, James received a definite call to the missions ministry. After resigning the pastorate in Drumright, he and his wife spent a short term serving as missionaries in Jamaica. James always viewed this time as valuable in which he learned to adapt to another culture.
In 1967, James and Linda went to Surinam, South America, to do missionary work. Their vision was to train and equip the Surinamers for the work of the ministry. A Bible Training School was dedicated on January 1, 1970. Graduates from this training program have founded over fifty churches in Surinam and several foreign countries. This training program thrives yet today, being operated totally by Surinamers.
Especially noteworthy is the impact James had on the Saramaccan peoples in the interior along the Surinam River. Although initially fiercely opposed to the gospel, through his ministry many of these were converted from idol worship to the Christian faith. Many churches were established in these villages.
James was a linguist, accomplished in Dutch (the official language of Surinam), the local dialect (Surnang Tongo), and the Saramaccan language (Saramaccans).
James developed into a leader of leaders. Ministering in dozens of countries, he united Christian leaders to work together to further the gospel in their land.
Services to honor James were held on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at Foundation Church, Sapulpa. James was laid to rest in Fairlawn Cemetery, Cushing.
James was preceded in death by his parents, James and Marie Cooper and his brother, Ricky Cooper. He is survived by his sister, Susan Evers (Gary) of Moore, Oklahoma, their children, Jacob Williams (Anie), Derek Evers (Danielle), Dillon Evers; his brother's children, Jeff Cooper (Leslie) and Jennifer Williams (Jeremiah); and several great nephews and nieces.
The service can to be followed online on Facebook under Rembering James Cooper.