We mourn the passing last week of Bill Cooper, a founding Board Member at Providence Academy who, with his family, had a substantial impact on our community in early years. The Star Tribune’s obituary summarizes Mr. Cooper’s amazing life, culminating in decades as the Chairman and CEO of TCF Bank. We came to know him through his passion for K-12 education and his desire that all young people have good school options.
Bill was a mentor to me, and he will always have a place of fond gratitude in my heart. He was known as a tough, straight-talking businessman; what was less known, I think, was the depth of his commitment to serve others. I told him once, “Bill, your heart is bigger than your wallet.”
Several memories of Bill Cooper’s service at PA are posted on PA’s Facebook page. Here’s one that gives a sense of the man: “In the spring of 2002, my dear friend and I were co-chairs for the inaugural Providence Academy Parent Association Gala. Bill Cooper called me one day and said, ‘Hi Kate, this is Bill Cooper. What do you need for your gala? You name it, I’ll get it done.’ I was a little stunned and there was a brief silence, followed by, ‘Wait, do you even know who I am?’ I replied that yes, I was pretty sure I knew who he was. We both had a good laugh. He went on to give us incredible support for our event and Providence Academy. Thank you, Mr. Cooper, you were one of a kind!”
Yes he was. Eternal rest grant him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.
A memorial service is planned for March 4 at noon, in a meeting area of TCF Bank Stadium.