Winston "Gus" Cooper was born in Lower Bouge, Eleuthera November 17th 1941 to the proud parents of Hubert and Llonella Cooper (both deceased). |
He met the love of his life, Cassandra Weech and they were joined in matrimony December 31st 1963. They were blessed with four sons Anthony (deceased), Francisco, Augustus and Elton.
He attended the Eastern Senior School from 1956-1959; St. John's College from 1959-1962; Morgan State College Baltimore, Maryland from 1963 – 1967 where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a minor in Biology. Gus joined the Public Service and continued his education, receiving an Advanced Diploma in Public Administration and Policy Management.
An avid sportsman, Gus participated in sports while in high school and college. He was very active in Track & Field competing in the 400 meters, Triple Jump, Baseball and Softball. His lover for sports was exemplified later on when he became one of the first Bahamians to own and operate a sporting goods store ""Champion Sportland"" and along with some of his friends Doyle Burrows, Honorable Perry Christie, Prime Minister, and Hugh Bullard, formed the Pioneers Sporting Club. Gus has coached many Bahamian Track & Field teams overseas: the Olympic team 1968 Mexico City, Mexico; in 1970 the Bahamas Pan American Team Cali Columbia; in 1971 the Commonwealth Games Team Edinburgh, Scotland; 1972 Olympic Team Munich, Germany. In 1972 he was elected president of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association (B.A.A.A.) he severed until 1976. During his tenure as president, the Bahamas hosted its first Carifta Games. Gus designed the flag for the Games. In 1996 he was selected to the B.A.A.A Hall of Fame as a Sports Administrator.
Gus began his professional career as a Physical Education Teacher at Harold Road Secondary School (A.F. Adderley) in 1967; in 1969 he was appointed Head of the Physical Education Department Highbury High School (R.M. Bailey); in 1972 he joined the Bahamas Teachers College; he was appointed Head of the Physical Education Department at the College of The Bahamas; in 1977 he was promoted the first Director of Sports at the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Community Affairs a position he held until the year 2000 when he was appointed Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Sports & Culture. During his tenure at the Ministry of Sports he served as the Administrative Chairman of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Bahamas Games. In 2008 Gus retired from the Public Service and joined Batelco Advertising Team. In 2010, Gus was hired by the Government as a Consultant with the Ministry of Sports to work with the Stadium project.
Called the ""Father of Modern Day Junkanoo"" Gus is renowned for his energetic dances, elaborate costumes, his appreciation for history, particularly, in costume and theme design; attention to detail, discipline and his ability to design and construct costume design and construction in the best Costume and Best Banner categories.
In 1978 Gus received the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizens Award for the Creative & Performance Arts; in 1986 he was honored by the Ministry of Labour, Youth, and Community Affairs for outstanding and dedicated service in furthering the cultural and social heritage through the development of the national festival of the Bahamas – Junkanoo; in 1995 he was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E.; in 1998 he received a silver anniversary award for Junkanoo; in 2000 he was selected as a member of the 100 most outstanding Bahamians by Jones Communications; in 2004 The Kiwanis Club International awarded for Junkanoo as a man of Distinction; in 2006 Toastmasters awarded him for his contribution to Culture/Heritage; in 2008 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame during National Sports Heritage Week; in 2010 Jones Communications Network awarded him "Everyday Hero for Culture"; in June 2013 he was honored by Mount Tabor as one The Fabulous 40 Fathers; in November 2013 during The Parish Church of the Most Holy Trinity 40th Anniversary celebrations he was recognized for his contribution to the Church and the Community.
The committee organizing the National Hall of Fame 2008 wrote ""Winston Gus Cooper best personifies the pronouncement by ancient Chinese warlord, Sun Tzu that many might see the tactics by which he conquered but few could discern the strategies by which his victories were achieved. As was that of the warlord, Gus' genius was in revolutionary thinking which he applied to sports as well as the myriad of interests that won his attention. In fact, through his gifts of denouncement, may were the infidels converted by his power of innovation, some so intrinsic that some wondered why no one has figured them out before. Indeed, it is most difficult to discern the strategies by which one man would achieve so much in sports, given that it was just his secondary passion.""
In July 2013, Papa as he is affectionately called by his grandchildren, had surgery to remove a Tumor that was discovered. Following the surgery, arrangements were made to air lift him to Health South, Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 10th 2013. He was accompanied by his loving and devoted wife, Cassie.
He was subsequently moved to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center, Miami, Florida, where he continued to receive therapy. His wife never left his side, except to check on their son Tony who had been diagnosed with Cancer. Papa never wanted her out of his sight.
In fact during his stay in Florida, she became his chief nurse and cheerleader.
A prayer warrior, she read the Bible to him daily and he always responded to the prayers and readings.
Papa's grandchildren were his life, and he celebrated with them their every achievement, always encouraging them to strive for and to be the best at whatever they did. He was elated that, Arve, Aimee and Judith travelled to Florida to spend the Christmas with him and Grammy. When he saw them, his face lit up like a Christmas Tree. They were joined by Augustus, Dana, Zackery and Zoe and had their Christmas meal in the hospital as a family.
On Thursday, January 2nd 2014, accompanied by his loving and devoted wife, Papa returned home. In the early morning hours on Saturday, January 4th 2014 Papa responded to the call to come home to rest from labour to reward.
He was predeceased by his first born, Anthony ""Tony"" Cooper who passed away on November 16th, 2013.
Final Rites and Burial for the late Mr. Winston"Gus" Cooper, M.B.E. Age 72yrs, a resident of Stapledon Gardens, will be held on Saturday, 11th January 2014, 10:00 am. at The Parish Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Stapledon Gardens, Officiating will be Fr. Mark Lindsay-Fox assisted by Fr. Roderick Bain and Fr. John Kabiga and Interment will follow in the Lakeview Gardens Cemetery, John F. Kennedy Drive.
Left to cherish his memories are his Wife: Cassandra Cooper, Children: Francisco & Judith, Augustus & Dana, Elton, Ashley & Karen Cooper, Grandchildren: Arve, Aimee, Zachery, Zoe, Karma, Kiahna, Kaaliyah and Evan Cooper, Siblings: Dolores Davis, Myrna Thompson, Annette & Dr. Baldwin Carey, Jill Cooper, Marina Cooper, Uncles & Aunts: Boleyn Bethel, Elizabeth Larry and Ritchie Gordon, Nephews & Nieces: Deidre & Philip, Jessica & Jasmine Hicks, Vernon Brown, Nicole Carey, Marcian, Ian, Tracey & Robin Cooper, Sherrilynn & Russ Thompson, Gary & Linda Cooper, Stewart Wallace, Gregory & Karen Cooper, Michael & Andrea Cooper, Travis & Stephanie Cooper, Brian & Lauralee Cooper, Davina Leach, Donella Davis, Dr. Donald & Sara Pope-Davis, Donette, D'Andrea Mercedes Davis, Darlene & Horace Hord, Denise & Willie Davis-Mckennie, Dr. Darren & Karen Davis, Dominic & Cathy Davis, Dymphna Davis, Diego & Deirdre Davis, Daria Davis, Dawn & Lavade Darling, Leland & Yvonne Cash, Terry & Ward Olgreen, Julie & Brandon Swaby, Kenneth & Joy Thompson, Kevin & Rosa Thompson, Dr. Therese & Al Bonamy, Keith Thompson, Addison M & Sherrin Cooper, Evelyn & Clyde Sawyer, Joycelyn Moss, Arlend & Ivan Collie, Cheryl Sands, Harry Sands, Nicholas Sands, Launders Sands, Cassandra Sands, Karen Sands & Terrance Weech, Cousins: Hortense Ingraham, Robert & Inez Cooper, Celestine & McPherson Williams, Ted & Maudlene Cooper, Eric & Alfreda Cooper, Carney & Ena Cooper, Philip & Lana Cooper, Delauris & Golston Bain, Melba Styles, Kenyon & Trudy Pinder, Margaret Cooke, Keva & Steve Smith, Lloyd & Sybil Toppin, Gloria Gibson, Doris Powell, Theresa Thompson, Jane & Jerry Sands, Derek & Felice Bethel, Valentine, Anne & Carol Bethel, Addison & Sherrin Cooper, Daphne & Warren Sawyer, Sherrlynn & Russ Thompson, Arlene Collie, Joycelyn Moss, Amos Hines II, Michael Hines, Mark Hines, Bruce Hines, Susette Hines, Marsha Armstrong, Barbara Minckler, Doris Powell, Hortense Ingraham, Addison & Sherrin Cooper, Daphney & Warren Sawyer, Sherrilyn & Wesley Thompson, Arlene & Ivan Collie, Family: The Valley Boys Junkanoo Group, Rodney & Frances Williams, Marc & Dr. Yasmin Robinson, Doyle & Judith Burrows and family, Greg & Dania Burrows, Natasha & Jason Clarke, Arthur Gibson & Family, Ed McPhee & Family, Brian & Cassandra Adderley & Family, Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Burnside, Harold & Joyce Cole, Torah Cole, Dr. Paul & Amy Cole & Family, Gary & Marie Cooper & Family, Dwayne & Daphne Mortimer, Godchildren: Gregory Burrows, Carlos Hutchins, Family & Friends: Margaret Claridge, Melverna Wong, Dr. Larry & Dr. Carol Carroll, Carl & Merlease Bethel, Ray & Rosemary Saunders, Cora Johnson, Bibi Cleare & Family, Deyanne Russell & Family, Andrew & Claudia Conliffe, Grant Conliffe, Sonia Dillett, Renaldo, Alexandria & Glenar'e Campbell,Veronica Marshall & Family, Women's Aglow West, Area Board Members, Women's Aglow, Mrs. Hilda Douglas and Family, Errington & Phyllis Thompson & Family, Paula & Leslie Bowleg, Fr. Mark & Mrs. Fox, Fr. Roderick & Mrs. Bain, Fr. John & Mrs. Kabiga, Members of The Parish Church of The Most Holy Trinity, Fr. Kingsley Knowles, Kingsley & Ruth Robinson, Ray, Maria and Vasthi Culmer, Wyatt Johnson & Family, Rosemary Braynen, Mr. & Mrs. Leroy Thompson, Lorinda Smith & Family, Donna Grant, Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Moss, Charles & Veronica Adderley, Mr. Fernley Palmer, Mrs. Jewel Smith & Family, Mrs. Lydia Bullard & Family, Patrice Ash & Family, The Stapledon Gardens Family, Monique Adderley and Eleanor Allen, The Family of the Late Patricia Lockhart-McKinney, Jackie Wallace & Family, The Weech Family. Marina D'Aguliar, Mrs. Gertrude Burnside & Family, Lowell Mortimer, Management & Staff of Bamboo Shack, Management & Staff of Boomer Trucking, Management & Staff of Bahamar, Management & Staff of Rubis, Management & Staff of Batelco Advertising Department; Friends at Scotia Bank, Friends at Atlantis and Friends at New Providence Development Company, Management & Staff of Bahamasair, Holy Trinity Prayer Band, Ladies Bible Study Group, Stapledon Gardens Cell Group: Deyanne Russell, Ruth Robinson, Beatrice Todd, Ray, Marie & Vastie Culmer, Jennie Roker, Carmell Jennings, Lydia Bullard, Sonia Dillett, Merlesase Bethel, Melverna Wong, Constance Miller, Regina Bullard, Marion Sands, Jewel Smith, Rosemary Saunders, Eldeace Wright, Friends: Honorable Prime Minister Christie & Mrs. Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis & Mrs. Davis, Care Givers: Dr. Ekedeke Magnus, Doctors and Nurses of Princes Margaret Hospital Intensive Care, Doctors, Nurses and Patient Care Team of Rider Trama Centre, Dr. Kester Nedd and Dr. Jimmy Abubaker.
The body will repose at the Chapel of the Saints Sweeting's Colonial Mortuary and Crematorium, #84 Blue Hill Rd. from 10.00 am on Friday until 6:00pm and on Saturday from 9:00 am at the Church until service Time.
Published in The Nassau Guardian on Jan. 9, 2014