Oliver Milton Cooper, Jr, 89, passed away on June 21, 2016. He was born July 31, 1926, in Birmingham, Alabama. He is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Lee Welch Cooper, son Scott Pollard Cooper, granddaughter Meredith Phia Cooper Bernhardt, parents Oliver Milton Cooper and Rosa Nell Cooper, brother George Nelson Cooper, Sr. He is survived by sons Oliver Milton Cooper III and his wife Stacey Penny Cooper, their daughter Leslie and her husband William Vigen, and son Robert; and Carter Welch Cooper and his wife EvaLeigh Shults Cooper, their son Stewart and his wife Jeanne and their children Carleigh and Vincent; and sister Catherine “Kitty” Cooper Pate.
He was reared in Gadsden, Alabama and graduated from Gadsden High School in 1944. At age 17 he joined the Navy where he took flight training and saw duty in the waning months of World War II. He attended college and earned his law degree at the University of Alabama in 1949.
He practiced law in Gadsden before joining the U.S. Department of Labor and moving to Atlanta where he had a long and distinguished career as Deputy Regional Solicitor. He made significant impacts focusing on equal employment opportunity and occupational safety and health, among other issues. In Washington, DC he helped draft the original Occupational Safety and Health bill. During his term at the Department of Labor he was instrumental in inspiring and mentoring many young attorneys and staff. He was appointed an Administrative Law Judge in the Social Security Administration where he finished his career. The folks who came before Judge Cooper were treated fairly and respectfully.
He was a Senior Life Master in bridge and made many friends at the bridge table, although they usually came away with lighter wallets. When asked how he did at a tournament he would often reply, “Well, I won a little”.
His last and favorite job was retirement, and he enjoyed it immensely! He could be seen daily walking his dog on Old Ivy, Wieuca and Peachtree roads. During the early 2000’s he took on the role of primary caregiver to his beloved wife Lee, looking after her with great care until her death in 2004. In his later years he found community and at Lenbrook-Atlanta, where a loving staff and many friends provided a wonderful and warm environment in which he thrived. He is fondly remembered by his family and their friends. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2016, 3:00 at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dunwoody. In lieu of flowers, donations are invited to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, jimmyv.org, or Malachi's Storehouse of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, malachisstorehouse.org.