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Nelson Lee Cooper

March 24, 1967 May 18, 2017
Nelson Lee  Cooper
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Obituary for Nelson Lee Cooper

Nelson Lee Cooper died peacefully on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the age of 50 after a brave fight against ALS.
The funeral service will be conducted Sunday at 2:30 pm at Oakmont Baptist Church. A private interment will be held at a later date in Statesville, NC.
Born on March 24, 1967 in Raleigh, North Carolina, he spent most of his childhood attending Wake County Schools. He attended all four years of high school at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA, graduating in 1986. He attended Wingate College and completed his bachelors degree at NC State University in 1991. During his undergraduate years, he worked two summers with the NC Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, where he met Mary Ann Beard of Statesville, NC, and they married in December 1991. Upon completing his degree at NC State, he began his career at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Student Affairs. After two years at North Carolina Wesleyan, he began his masters degree studies at East Carolina University, where he also served as a Graduate Assistant in Campus Recreation and Wellness and in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Upon completing his masters in 1995, he became a full-time instructor in the Recreation and Park Management degree program at ECU. In 2003, he completed his PhD at Clemson University and returned as an associate professor in the College of Health and Human Performance at ECU. He served as a recreation and park educator for more than 20 years.
Nelson was awarded the State of North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine, East Carolina University Vice Chancellor's Advocacy Award, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association Fellow Award, and the East Carolina Creed Award for Integrity. He received numerous other awards for leadership and service.
Nelson’s greatest joys came from doing activities and making memories with his wife, his son Jefferson, and his daughter Bailey. He enjoyed watching his children’s accomplishments in church, school, and sports. Family trips were always adventurous and active, and they especially enjoyed visiting National Parks. Nelson and Mary Ann maintained a special admiration for young people. They served for many years as leaders in the Oakmont Baptist Youth Ministry, served on the Pitt County Young Life Committee, volunteered in school and athletic events, and often opened their home as a safe place for youth to spend time together. They also befriended and mentored many college students that Nelson met through his work at ECU. Nelson was instrumental in establishing F3 (Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith) in eastern North Carolina.
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Mary Ann Beard Cooper, son, Jefferson Corbin Cooper, and daughter, Bailey Margaret Ashley Cooper; father, Corbin L. Cooper, and mother, Joann Ashley Cooper, of Penney Farms, FL; brother, John Ashley Cooper and husband, David Perkins, of Austin, TX; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Harry Jefferson Beard and Margaret Brewer Beard, of Statesville, NC, and many loving members of the Cooper, Ashley, Beard, and Brewer families.
Mary Ann, Jefferson, and Bailey are grateful for the love and support of the Oakmont Church family, the men of F3 ENC, colleagues from ECU, and many others.
The family will receive friends Saturday from 5 to 8 pm at Wilkerson Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Oakmont Baptist Church, 1100 Red Banks Road, Greenville, NC 27858, ALS Association, North Carolina Chapter, 4 N Blount St #200, Raleigh, NC 27601 or to the ECU Foundation, Inc., The Nelson L. Cooper Scholarship Fund, Office of Gift Records, East Carolina University, 2200 South Charles Boulevard, Greenville, NC 27858.

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Previous Events





5:00 PM 5/20/2017 5:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 5/20/2017 8:00:00 PM
Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory - Greenville

2100 East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858

Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory - Greenville
2100 East Fifth Street Greenville 27858 NC
United States





2:30 PM 5/21/2017 2:30:00 PM
Oakmont Baptist Church

1100 Red Banks Rd
Greenville, NC 27858

Oakmont Baptist Church
1100 Red Banks Rd Greenville 27858 NC
United States

Memorial Contribution

Oakmont Baptist Church

1100 Red Banks Rd
Greenville, NC 27858

ALS Association, North Carolina Chapter

4 N Blount St #200
Raleigh, NC 27601

ECU Foundation, Inc., The Nelson L. Cooper Scholarship Fund

Office of Gift Records, East Carolina University, 2200 South Charles Boulevard
Greenville, NC 27858

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