Collins Cooper remembered as dedicated public servant
WINDSOR – A man who brought energy and enthusiasm to Windsor has died.
Collins Cooper, who served dual roles as Windsor Town Commissioner and Executive Director of the Windsor/Bertie County Chamber of Commerce, died Tuesday. He was 59.
Those in and around Bertie County said Wednesday that Cooper was a man of tremendous energy who loved Windsor and Bertie County and fought to provide the best for them.
“Like most everyone else, I’m totally shocked,” said Bertie County Economic Development Director Steve Biggs. “He’s going to be really missed – not only in the community, but certainly for his time on the town board, his time at the Chamber and for being friends with everyone he came into contact with.
“He enjoyed starting new programs and was instrumental in getting Windsor involved in the NC STEP program because of his relationship with the North Carolina Rural Center,” Biggs added. “It was his idea to start the black history month banquet. He was always thinking of ways to improve Windsor and Bertie County and the quality of life for everybody.”
Windsor Mayor Jimmy Hoggard said he was saddened to learn of the death of his colleague.
“I was shocked and saddened,” he said. “I have been keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers. He brought a lot of energy to our board, our town and our Chamber. His main interest was economic development which was appropriate for times we are in.”
Windsor Town Administrator Allen Castelloe concurred.
“Collins had tremendous energy for town projects and always had an optimistic outlook for Windsor,” Castelloe said. “Collins was not only a commissioner, but a friend. He will be missed in our community. “
Windsor Commissioner David Overton said he enjoyed serving with Cooper, with whom he worked on several town projects.
“He had the town at heart,” Overton said. “He thought about things and had great ideas. We’re going to miss Collins.”
Overton said Cooper would tackle any project he thought would benefit the town.
“He had a heart for all people in Windsor and Bertie County,” he added. “I had the highest regard for him.”
Chowan County Manager Zee Lamb, who worked for many years with Cooper in Bertie County, said he believed Cooper had at heart a love for all people.
“Collins loved Windsor and Bertie County,” Lamb said. “He worked tirelessly to help improve the quality of life for all the people of the county. I will miss him.”
Bertie County Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III also praised Cooper’s work.
“He was a bridge-builder,” Hoggard said. “In his time back in Bertie County, he worked hard for the Chamber and for the town and indeed the county.
“I appreciated all the support he gave over the years,” Hoggard added. “He will be sorely missed by a lot of people.”
During his final years, Cooper served as Executive Director of the Windsor/Bertie Chamber and was highly regarded by his peers for his work. Last year, he was named Chamber Executive of the Year by the Northeast Partnership.
It was his dedication and desire to do what’s best for the people of Windsor and Bertie County that made him stand out at his job.
Carol Woodard, who worked with Cooper at the Chamber, said he worked hard for the chamber and the town.
“Collins loved the town of Windsor, its history and the people here,” she said. “Last fall a group visiting Windsor came to the Chamber to get brochures, however, all our materials were packed up due to renovations.
“Collins asked the group to come in and sit around the table and he proceeded to tell stories about Windsor history,” she continued. “He talked for 30 to 45 minutes and then answered questions. His love for Windsor was so evident in recalling the history of the town.”
Woodard said Cooper also loved his family.
“Besides his love for Windsor, he loved his family especially his granddaughter, Jessica,” she said. “He loved spending time with her because he said he always learned something from her.
“I know I will miss him more than words can say and he will be missed by the town of Windsor and many, many others,” she added.
Cooper’s counterpart at the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, Dan Joyner, agreed that Cooper would be missed.
“We’re really saddened,” he said. “Collins was very well respected in his community and ours and with his cohorts in the business. He leaves behind a fine legacy.”
In addition to his service to the Chamber and the town, Cooper was a member of various other boards, including serving as one of the longest-tenured members of the Reader Advisory Board of Roanoke-Chowan Publications.
“We appreciated Collins and his service to our board,” RCP Editor Cal Bryant said. “He was always supportive of our newspaper and was a great help to us. He even covered a story when we couldn’t get there, which is more than you could ask from an advisory board member.
“He always reminded us of our obligation to the citizens of Bertie County and the Roanoke-Chowan region,” Bryant added. “We will miss him greatly.”
The family will receive friends on Friday, February 17, 2-3 p.m. in the parlor of Providence United Methodist Church followed by a graveside service at 3 p.m. at the church columbarium with Rev. Terry Hobbs officiating.
Cooper is survived by his wife, Linda Jinnette Cooper; his children, Paula Cooper Rendleman and Thomas Collins Cooper, III; his grandchildren, Jessica Grey Rendleman and Landon Lineberry.
He is also survived by his brother, Dick Cooper of Merry Hill and his aunt, Edna Earle Cooper of Windsor.
At Cooper’s request, in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Providence United Methodist Church Columbarium Improvement Fund, in care of Pat Herring, at 202 Providence Church Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530.