Deceased December 14, 2022
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Charlie self-described the “best four years” of his life as an Amherst undergraduate. He really appreciated the fineness of an Amherst education. Coop said he was not prepared for the workload or some of the subject matter! He was an economics major and a member of Chi Psi, where he was the social chairman (no surprise there!). Coop played freshman baseball and was the baseball team’s manger senior year. He performed the same duties for the lacrosse team. But, more importantly, he was in the ROTC program, a life-changing activity.
Following graduation, Coop was in the Air Force from 1956 to 1960, serving as a navigator. He was assigned to the Otis AFB on Cape Cod and spent three years flying over the North Atlantic on radar constellations. In May 1960, Coop joined New York Telephone as a trainee, advancing over the next 32 years to executive director of a division in a successor company. His specialty was the management of people providing customer service.
In 1962, Coop joined the New York Air National Guard, remaining with them for 30 years. He flew as a navigator on strategic and aerial tanker missions to Southeast Asia and Europe. Coop moved to guard headquarters in 1976 and advanced up the ranks. He retired from the National Guard with the rank of major general in December 1991 after serving as commander for seven years.
After his first wife, Karen, his high school sweetheart, passed away in 1988, Coop married Ann Lewis, a longtime friend. They moved in 1992 to Dayton, Ohio, where they volunteered at the USAF Museum. They also co-authored three books on aviation. Coop was on the museum’s foundation board. In their retirement years together, Coop and Ann traveled throughout the United States and abroad. He died peacefully on Dec. 14.
Rob Sowersby ’55