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Jack Cooper: 1930-2023


Retired Edmonds Fire Chief Jack Cooper went to live with God in heaven on September 16, 2023. He was a loving husband, dad, grandpa, uncle and brother.

Jack was born November 2, 1930, in Burleson, Texas to Ferg and Bertha Cooper and spent most of his youth in Texas before moving to Sunnyside, Washington, while in high school. He played football and boxed for the Sunnyside Grizzlies and was also a thespian.

After high school, he married his sweetheart, Betty Lou Harrel. In March 1951, Jack was hired as assistant fire chief by the City of Sunnyside, a position he held for nine years. During his early years on the fire department Jack was an accomplished amateur boxer.

In 1960, Jack and Betty moved their young family to Puyallup, where Jack took a fire inspector position in the insurance business. While in Puyallup, Jack spent five years as a volunteer firefighter.

In 1965, Jack was hired as the first paid fire chief in Edmonds. During his time in Edmonds, Chief Cooper was instrumental in bringing in emergency medical technicians, starting the Medic 7 Paramedic Program and SnoCom 911 to Edmonds.

He also started the chaplain program with Ken Gaydos that would become Support 7.

He served on the school board was an active leader in Rotary and an officer in the Washington Association of Fire Chiefs.

After retirement from the Fire Department in 1979, Jack started a new career in Christian camping. Jack and Betty would travel all across the country serving in church camps until Betty's health began to fail. After Betty passed away in 2013, Jack slowed down but continued to work at camps.

In 2015 Jack retired, returned to Sunnyside, and married Laura Forgey. Laura and Jack would spend eight years together until Jack's death just 11 days after their eighth anniversary.

During his time with Laura, he became involved in the Retired Public Employees Council, serving as a chapter president and state representative.

In addition to Laura, Jack is survived by sister Geneva "Tootsie" Wood; four adult children from his life with Betty – Jack Jr, (Karen), Mike (Chrystal), Kathy Kagey (Dale), Beth Steeves (David); and four adult children from his life with Laura – Lim Forgey Jr., Cathy Chastain (Rick), Lou Lee (Doug), and Lenora McBride(Karl).

He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

A memorial celebration of Jack's life will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday October 7, at Sunnyside First Baptist, 409 S. 8th St.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to The Jack Cooper Camping Scholarship Fund at First Baptist Church, 409 S. 8th St., Sunnyside, WA 98944; Sunnyside Firefighters Benevolent Fund, PO Box 1165, Sunnyside, WA 98944; or Support 7, P.O. Box 2604, Lynnwood WA 98036.