Carl Lloyd Cooper ’57

Mr. Carl Lloyd Cooper, age 88, of Bethesda, Maryland passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

Carl Lloyd Cooper, 88, died suddenly on January 25, 2024, in Washington, DC. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Nancy Kooistra Cooper, of Bethesda, Maryland; his daughter, Alison Cooper, of Bethesda; his son, John Cooper (Phyllis McCune), of Tulsa, Oklahoma; his daughter, Jean Cooper (Tom Litke), of College Park, Maryland; his stepdaughter, Erin Allen (Jeremy), of Columbia, Missouri; eight grandchildren, one great grandchild, and three step-grandchildren; his sister, Doris Cooper McCoy, of Durham, North Carolina; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Born in 1935 in Durham, North Carolina to Albert Derwin and Mary Norris Cooper, Carl was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College (1957), and earned his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 1960.

He was married for 24 years to Ann Clarkson, with whom he had Alison, John, and Jean.

He served as assistant minister of First Presbyterian Church in Utica, New York, from 1960 to 1963; pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia, from 1963 to 1973; senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, from 1973 to 1982; and senior pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1982 to 1993. He was moderator of the Des Moines Presbytery for a year, and of the National Capital Presbytery in 1970. He was a Freedom Summer civil rights volunteer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1964. In retirement, he and Nancy spent 21 years in London, thoroughly enjoying the history and rich cultural offerings of that city, attending hundreds of West End plays and numerous Wimbledon tennis matches before settling in Bethesda, Maryland in 2014.

In his leadership roles, Carl was admired for his diplomacy; kind and thoughtful presence; warm humor; quiet confidence; respect for and interest in others’ opinions; good counsel; and his ability to calmly defuse conflict. Carl was a lover of literature, sports, travel and the arts. He read several books at a time, ranging from economic textbooks to the novels of Anthony Trollope and John Grisham. He was an avid tennis player his entire life, playing doubles as recently as two days before his death. He closely followed the St. Louis Cardinals (listening to games on the radio as a boy) and more recently the Washington Nationals. He was a lifelong fan of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team. Carl and Nancy traveled in Europe extensively and had a special fondness for Australia and the Australian Open tennis tournament, which they attended over many years. His final moments involved great music – while attending a rehearsal of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz, New York, was one of his favorite places in the world. In addition to appreciating its stunning beauty, he loved and believed in its stated mission “to provide opportunities for recreation and renewal of body, mind, and spirit in a beautiful natural setting.” He was grateful to be able to serve Mohonk as a Director of Smiley Brothers, Inc. from 1979 through 2016, and as a Trustee of Smiley Brothers Trust from 1995 until his death.

Carl’s organizational skills were impressive, tracking books read, plays attended, and travels experienced with meticulous detail for easy reference. His office library was catalogued, and his family could always count on him to retrieve information that the rest of us had forgotten or lost.

Carl loved new technology and enjoyed creating innovative ways to solve problems. As an example, like many parents, when his children were young, he would read books to them before bedtime but he went a few steps further to maximize the effort: First, he climbed into the attic and pulled speaker wires from one end of their house to the other, and down into the closets of each child’s room. Next, he set up a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the hall closet. And finally, he recorded the book-reading sessions with the kids, creating a system that would enable his children to fall asleep listening to the sound of his voice reading books to them on the nights when he couldn’t read to them in person.

Along with his love of technology, he was an early adopter of the personal computer, quickly becoming an expert in all things Apple.

He was an optimist with a keen sense of humor who enjoyed learning, stimulating conversation, and time with family and friends. Loved and adored by many, he was grateful for his health and love-filled life. Laughter was the hallmark of every gathering with Carl, and these joyful memories will be treasured by all who knew him.

The family will share details about a service to celebrate Carl’s life when they are solidified, and requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be considered in Carl’s honor to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the Mohonk Preserve, or Union Theological Seminary.