The Man, The Mission, The Movement
"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
Fred E. (Sam) Cooper, was the 7th child, born on October 25, 1938, to the parentage of Frank Benjamin and Julia Massey Cooper. A native and lifelong resident of Chatom, AL, he was very courageous and cunning.
A farmer by nature, he along with his siblings, farmed crops and raised livestock as directed by their parents. He attended school in Koenton, AL; however, left during his junior year of high school to pursue his love for automotive mechanics in Tennessee. Upon receiving his certified automotive mechanic license, he returned and graduated from Koenton High School. He was a natural athlete, ran track, and was an agile hoop star; as noted by his fellow teammates who confirmed, that although average in height, he, and his baby brother, could jump out of the ceiling. To further defy the odds and confirm that you are never too old to learn, at the tender age of 77 years old, he graduated from Bishop State Community College, receiving his CDL certification.
His automotive career began at the Ford Motor Company in Chatom for numerous years, and later evolved into his entrepreneurship when he established his own businesses. He was the first black business owner with the opening of Sam’s Garage in 1965, at the age of 27; and later opened Cooper’s Service Station, both located on Highway 17 North of Chatom. He possessed an excellent work ethic and was noted as one of the top-rated businesses during his time.
He was a member of the Alabama Farmer’s Federation, Cattlemen’s Association and Farmer’s Cooperative for numerous years. He raised hundreds of cattle and groomed his children for Steer Showmanship competition, where they won numerous awards. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of rearing livestock, farming, and planted miniature gardens of fresh vegetables. He was diligent in his crafts and freely shared his knowledge and wisdom to whomever took the time to listen.
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall, I fear? Psalm27:1 Asa Civil Rights activist and community leader, he began his quest for justice at the tender age of 16 and participated in freedom marches and campaigns throughout the state and southeast U.S. He was very instrumental in challenging racial injustices and inequalities and was one of the organizers for the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), Black Caucus of Washington County, Alabama, where he worked untiringly to serve the people. For over 50 years, as a member of ADC, he served as president, promoted equality for all people, encouraged voter registration, organized marches, challenged politicians, and championed causes for minorities in the workplace, schools and anywhere injustice was evident.
He was also a member of NAACP for many years, continuing the work for the equality of all people. God bestowed upon him unmerited favor and granted him access to some of the highest-ranking officials at the local, state, and national levels; not for recognition for himself, but for the equal rights of others. No, he was not perfect, but always perfecting and progressing; and after many years of dedicated service, he was recognized by the Alabama Democratic Conference Black Caucus and received the 2019 Lyndon B. Johnson Political Freedom Award. “But let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’”Amos 5:24
His spiritual foundation was established at Lilly Grove Baptist church where he was a member from his childhood. In previous years, he served in various capacities and sang gospel quartet with his former classmates. He was a tenor/falsetto with the Gospel Voices, which included his family and collaborations with local musicians and artists. In his later years, he attended Cooper-Lewis C.M.E. Church, until his health declined. “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”. Psalm 27:4.
On September 27, 2021, he transitioned from this earthy life, holding on to his faith as he often stated, “the Lord knows, and He will make everything alright,” as he entered eternal rest. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings: James, Thomas (Dot), Mattie Lou, Ola Mae and Vivian; and son, Lynn Duwayne Cooper.
His memories will forever be cherished, and his legacy continued by his devoted daugh- ters: Theda Bara (George) Rhodes and LaQuinta Gail (Ray) Boykin; daughter-in-law, Mary Cooper, all of Chatom, AL; loving siblings: sister, Creddie Horne, Chatom, AL; and brother, Willie Howard (Vivian) Cooper of Birmingham, AL. His grandchildren: Letitia (Alvin) Clark, Tiara Cooper, Kezmond Cooper, Jalyn Cooper, all of Mobile, AL; Jasmine Rhodes, Covington, GA; Jamaal Rhodes, Oxford, MS.; Raven Boykin, Tuscaloosa, AL and Lynn (LJ) Cooper, Chatom, AL. His great-grandchildren: Amani Winston, Aniya Clark, Ivey Lynn Cooper, Kamille Adelle Cooper, Kamari Duwayne Cooper, Raelyn Dior Albert; special friend, Margaret Yelding; a host of loving nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. II Timothy 4:7-8.
Service will be held on Friday October 1, viewing will begin at 2 p.m. until the 3 p.m. funeral hour at Lilly Grove Baptist Church, 98 MLK Avenue Chatom, AL. The Rev. Henry Pogue, pastor and the Rev. Hazel Kirskey Dickinson, eulogist. Interment will follow in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Chatom. Final life celebration has been entrusted to Jackson Memorial Funeral Home 203 East Ross St., Jackson, AL. Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Fred E . " Sam" Cooper, please visit our floral store.