Pastor Vernon Cooper, Jr., beloved founder of Mt. Olive Church of God in Christ, also known as “Super Cooper”, departed this life on Thanksgiving, November 23, 2017 and was welcomed into the bosom of our Lord to receive his Great Reward. “Well done thy good and faithful servant.
Vernon Cooper, Jr. was born on December 11, 1931 in Janis, Oklahoma to Willie Mae Mahan and Vernon Cooper, Sr. The family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Pastor Cooper accepted the Lord as his personal savior and invited him into his life. It was at Power House COGIC, where he got involved in ministry as an usher. There he also met Fredonia and they married in 1951. From this union was born one daughter, Marilyn (Cooper) Cummings. They were married until her death in 2011.
Shortly after Pastor Cooper graduated from Stockton City College, he joined the United States Navy and relocated to San Diego and joined Jackson Memorial COGIC, under the leadership of the late Bishop J.A. Blake, Sr. It was at Jackson Memorial where he accepted the call to preach the gospel and eventually became assistant pastor, under Bishop J.A. Blake, Sr.
Upon completion of service in the United States Navy, Pastor Cooper went to work at North Island Avionics. He also returned back to school in 1960 to further his education. He earned his A.A. Degree in Electronics from San Diego City College. He later continued to pursue his education and attended San Diego State University, where he earned his B.A. Degree and later earned a Doctorate in the 90’S.
In 1965, Bishop J.A. Blake, Sr. sent Pastor Cooper on assignment to pastor the St. John COGIC in La Jolla, CA. After six years of faithful service, and ministering to the congregation and the “locals” (barefooted surfers) that responded to the music and message with “groovy man”, he felt that the Lord was calling him to start a work in the inner city.
Pastor Cooper was given permission to sell St. John COGIC and use the proceeds to start work in the inner city. However, he shared with the congregation, that if there was one objection to sell, he would honor their wishes and not sell. With that said, Mother Sherman was concerned about selling the Lord’s house. Pastor Cooper, being the epitome of a Christian gentleman, kept his word and founded Mt. Olive COGIC in 1972, along with the late Sister Fredonia Cooper, Brother and Sister Paul Willis, and Brother and Sister McAfee.
Being a progressive pastor and a leader that believed in ownership, he moved the church from Imperial Avenue to its present location, 4907 'A' Street in an old house. While the current building was being built, the church moved to the old Voice and ViewPoint building, then to the Black Frog Club, and then next door in the house that stood where the church's current parking lot is located. Before he started to build, he quoted Luke 14:28-30, and said “Okay, we have counted up the cost and we don’t have sufficient revenue, however let’s expect a miracle”. Pastor Cooper was a man of great faith!
Pastor Cooper preached many great sermons, one powerful sermon he preached for five Sundays straight, Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles”. His subject was “If you need Him, Call Him”. However, Pastor Cooper’s greatest sermon was the one he lived.
In late 2012 at a birthday celebration, Pastor Cooper met Lestine who was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church. She was later invited to Mount Olive. When asked what church she attended she told him, his response was “soon to be Mount Olive”. He asked her out to lunch. On August 30, 2014, Pastor Cooper was united in holy matrimony to Lestine (Nowden) Cooper and often referred to her as his love and help mate, a virtuous woman far above rubies.
Pastor Cooper dedicated his life to loving God, his wife, family, and loving people. He preached and lived love and forgiveness in order to see Jesus.
Pastor Cooper was a faithful servant and an asset in the Grand Ole COGIC. He served as a consultant to the General Assembly for several years, Regional Youth Leader in Southern California First District and First Administrative Assistant in Southern California Second Jurisdiction for twenty-five years under the leadership of Bishop G. D. McKinney.
Pastor assisted and served the late Supervisor of Women, Mother Elizabeth Nash, along with emeritus National Mother, Willie Mae Rivers and the National Women Department COGIC. He also served with Bishop Derrick Hutchins on the National Judiciary Committee COGIC.
Pastor Cooper served faithfully as pastor of the Mt. Olive COGIC for over forty-five years, where he was many things to many people. Husband, Father, Papau, Pastor, Reverend, Counselor, Confidant, Mediator, Teacher, Friend, and the list goes on.
Pastor Vernon Cooper’s favorite scripture was Romans 8:28 “and we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose”.
Pastor Vernon Cooper leaves to cherish sacred memories his loving and devoted wife, Lestine Cooper (San Diego, CA); one daughter Marilyn Cummings (Fort Worth, TX); three grandchildren Marcelle (Marci) Moore (Fort Worth, TX), Dave Cummings (Fort Worth, TX) and Joyce Cummings (Fort Worth, TX); three great- grandchildren Taron Rasha’d Brown, Je’Naye Brown, and Jace Winfield (Fort Worth, TX); nieces, nephews, cousins, Mount Olive family, and extended family. Rest in peace Pastor Cooper, see you in the morning!