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Richard A. Cooper

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North Stonington - Richard A. Cooper, Ph.D., 74, beloved husband for 50 years of Patricia (Davis) Cooper, passed away suddenly on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, at his home.

Born in Ann Arbor, Mich., he was a son of the late Gerald P. and Alma (Hosner) Cooper.

Richard "Dick" was an oceanographer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut. Early in his career Dick was a biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Woods Hole, Mass. where he led the Manned Undersea Science & Technology group. During this time he was involved with many of our nation's first experiments in saturation diving and undersea habitation. In 1982, he received the prestigious NOGI Award for Diver of the Year in Science. Dick was also a former director of the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut where he implemented research programs using underwater vehicles across New England, the Great Lakes, and in places around the world. He founded the High School Aquanaut Program that created once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for hundreds of high school students and teachers in ocean sciences. Starting in the mid-1990s, Dick became director of the Marine Sciences & Technology Center at UConn for 10 years where he was instrumental, among other things, in the construction of two new state-of-the-art research and education buildings in addition to the university's flagship research vessel, the R/V Connecticut. Finally, Richard was the founder and driving force behind Ocean Technology Foundation and the SeaBase1 Corp. Most recently, Dick was nominated for Diver of the Year award from Beneath the Sea. On his behalf, the Cooper family is expected to accept the award during a ceremony in March.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Christopher G. Cooper and his wife, Rozaliya, of East Lyme, and Jeffrey G. Cooper and his wife, Tammy, of Brighton, Mich.; two daughters, Wendelyn D. Cooper of Groton, and Catherine W. Cooper and her husband, Michael Poulin, of North Stonington; two brothers, William E. Cooper of Mason, Mich. and David K. Cooper of Washington, Mich.; and three grandchildren, Jae H.P., Abigail Rose, and Martin Richard.

Visiting hours will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday in Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly. A funeral service will be held immediately following the visiting hours at 12 p.m. in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Uconn Foundation - Richard A. Cooper Scholarship Fund, Attn: Janene Vandi, University of Connecticut, Avery Point Campus, 1080 Shennecossett Road, Groton, CT 06340.

For online condolences, go to www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com

Published in The Day on Feb. 2, 2011
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