Douglas Cooper

Feb. 12, 1951 - June 23, 2023

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Two days before Valentine's Day 1951, Harry and Shirley Cooper welcomed their firstborn, Douglas Harry Cooper, into the world. From Spokane, to Great Falls, to Bellingham, to Tacoma, Doug cultivated friends that shared his humor, as well as those that shared his lifelong passions for cycling and music. One of a kind, with a wry humor, Doug often showed his love to friends and family through a shared conversation or a bike ride, by recommending a favorite album, or doling out treats such as his homemade cookies and granola. Raised in the Yardley neighborhood of Spokane, WA, Doug played baseball and football in his youth, and enjoyed private guitar lessons once a week. He attended Ferris High School, where his love of music was on full display as the drum major for the school’s marching band. Doug was part of the local Spokane music scene of the late ’60s and ‘70s, being the vocalist and guitarist for the band, Brother Love. He possessed an intricate knowledge and respect for music which he imparted to his children. During this time, Doug spent his days cycling around the region with his Team Pernot brothers, directing activities for Daybreak Youth Services, a teenage residential drug and alcohol center, or playing racquetball – Doug was so confident in his skills with the sport that he used to hustle people for money. It was not unusual for Doug to head out, at all hours, when a match was arranged. In 1978, he married Charlene (née Raymond) at the Spokane Courthouse; children Ashleigh and Evan came soon after. In 1989, the Cooper family moved to Great Falls, MT, where Doug received his BS in Psychology. While in Montana, Doug gained a number of new strong friendships, and spent his free time as Boy Scout leader of Evan’s troop, and coach of Ashleigh’s fastpitch team. He would cycle on little Kings Hill whenever he had time. On one particularly memorable trip, Doug found that his squealing brakes during his descent had sparked the interest of a male moose in the prime of mating season. In 1995, the family moved to Bellingham, WA, where Doug started his long career in social work. Always an advocate and ally for those people that were impacted by discrimination, unfair circumstances, or life’s hardships, Doug believed in treating everyone with respect, regardless of their current state or situation. Doug felt he had found his true calling with social work, and truly loved his career. He despised discrimination of any kind, as well as ignorance and blatant stupidity. Doug was both a quiet, and not so quiet, proponent for equality. He started at DSHS as an after-hours intake officer for children’s services. He continued this work through moves to Mill Creek and Tacoma, where he eventually finished his career on the IT-side of the agency. One could observe the pride, love, and admiration in Doug’s eyes when he spoke of Char, Ashleigh, and Evan. Their successes of character and strength speak to his deep love. Although his final years were trying, he persisted long enough to hear the laughter and chaos of his grandchildren, Mira, Eleanor, and Murray, who he adored. His journey with cancer ended on June 23rd, 2023. His time ended peacefully, with Doug surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Charlene, their two children, Ashleigh and Evan, and his brother Van. Friends and family are encouraged to gather on July 22, 2023 to celebrate his life. Please feel free to bring stories and photos to share. For those interested, please reach out to the family for details. In lieu of flowers or gifts to the family, please consider donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Major Taylor Cycling Project, or playing some good loud music (no Nickelback) in his honor.


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Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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