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Dr. Joe Marders Cooper

October 24, 1924 November 30, 2022
Dr. Joe  Marders Cooper
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Obituary for Dr. Joe Marders Cooper

Dr. Joe Marders Cooper was born October 24, 1924, in Tallahatchie County Mississippi, the youngest of nine children of James Edwin Cooper and Lou Slaughter Cooper, all of whom predeceased him.

He graduated as valedictorian from Charleston High School in 1943 and was immediately inducted into the United States Army Air Corps for service in World War II. After combat training, he was deployed with the 15th Air Force in Italy, where he served as a radio-operator/gunner in a B-24 bomber. Returning from a mission late in the war, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Northern Italy. The survivors bailed out and became prisoners of war in Southern Germany.

Upon his return to the United States, he married Wilma E. Stinson of Evergreen, Alabama, and they earned Bachelor of Arts degrees at Mississippi College in 1949. In 1952 he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and went on to receive a Doctor of Theology degree in Systematic Theology from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He served as a pastor of several churches, including Vaiden Baptist Church and Handsboro Baptist Church.

In 1958, Dr. Cooper became a faculty member at Mississippi College where he taught Philosophy and Religion, and where he was a respected and beloved professor who received many awards for teaching excellence. During that time he served as Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and President of the Mississippi Philosophical Association, and he received the Department of Christian Studies Alumnus of the Year Award in 2016. He retired as Professor Emeritus after a career of 35 years. Even decades later his former students fondly recall “Smokin’ Joe” and his pop quizzes and blue books.

Dr. Cooper and his wife Wilma were married for 67 happy years until her death in 2012. They have four children: Kay Gabbert (Craig) of Nashville, Tennessee, Joe A. Cooper of Tallahassee, Florida, Carol Cooper (Dave Ramsay) of Seattle, Washington, and Bonnie Cooper of Clinton, Mississippi. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Rob and Joel Gabbert, Sarah Schaedle (Will), and Nathan Mussiett, as well as three great-grandchildren: Joe, Eli and Caroline Schaedle. They were all the light of his life, and they adored their Poppa. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews to whom he was devoted.

In the last ten years of his life he organized and led a book club of former students and friends who studied Southern literature, race relations, and religious texts. The club met at his house until Covid forced them to move to online meetings. Some of his closest friends were a big part of this, and the book club kept him engaged.

Services will be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at Northside Baptist Church at 11:00am. Visitation will begin at 9:00am in the sanctuary, and burial will follow in the Clinton Cemetery. For those unable to attend, the service will be available at In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be directed to Northside Baptist Church, Clinton, Mississippi or the Joe Cooper Scholarship Fund of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




11:00 AM 12/6/2022 11:00:00 AM
Northside Baptist Church

1475 East Northside Drive
Clinton, MS 39056

Northside Baptist Church
1475 East Northside Drive Clinton 39056 MS
United States

Cemetery Details


Clinton Cemetery Final Resting Place

E. College Street
Clinton, MS 39056

E. College Street Clinton 39056 MS
United States

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