Collins Cooper: a friend for all seasons

Published 10:18 am Monday, February 20, 2012

He was a man that loved his community, his life and his family. He was a man that worked tirelessly to make Windsor and Bertie County a better place to live. He was my friend.

Tuesday morning I received news that my friend Collins Cooper died earlier in the morning. Honestly, I was simply shocked. I couldn’t believe my ears and I was immediately thrown for a loop.

I knew Collins had not been well. He had missed a meeting of our Reader Advisory Board – the first and only such one he missed – and then didn’t attend an event at Bertie Memorial Hospital to unveil it’s new name.

When I called him, I got no answer and the next day I went to the Chamber office. I knew he had been out and was not well, but I wanted to check on him. I found our surgery was imminent, but that it wasn’t on his heart.

Frankly, I was relieved and was looking forward to seeing Collins later this month when I was sure he would be back at work, happy to get on with the business he had been working on and eager to continue his quest to make Windsor better.

He had been sick before, but seemed to always bounce back. He was so full of life with energy and enthusiasm to spare. I often wondered how a man nearly 20 years my senior had more energy than I did.

Collins and I got to know each other through this job. I started covering Bertie County some three or four years ago and he was one of the first people I went to talk to. I wanted more news from the county and I figured the Chamber was a good place to start.

Not only was he welcoming, but he was excited. Any opportunity to showcase the positives of Bertie County was high on his priority list and he was quick to send me story ideas and information he wanted to see us run with.

It was that type of enthusiasm for seeing good news about Bertie County printed in the newspaper that led us to appoint him to our Reader Advisory Board when it was reformed just over a year ago.

Like he did with most everything, Collins quickly embraced the appointment and took his new role seriously. He was willing to work hard for us just like he did in every other board on which he served.

I remember getting a call that North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue was on her way to Windsor. There was no way I could get there before she arrived.

I immediately called Collins and asked him how he felt about taking a few notes and a few pictures and covering the event for us. He was gracious enough to agree and did a great job allowing us to get the information in the newspaper even though no one from our fulltime staff could get there.

He was always willing to help in situations where he was needed and was eager to see the town of Windsor and Bertie County get better. He loved it enough to know it could be more and he was striving to make it more.

I appreciate the laughter and the friendship I enjoyed while working with Collins and I’m grateful for everything he did to make me a better reporter and a better person. I will truly miss him.


Thadd White is Managing Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.