Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home
8201 Hickman Road
Urbandale, IA 50322
More Obituaries for Gerald Cooper
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?

Dr. Gerald J. Cooper Sr.

Obituary Condolences

Dr.  Gerald J. Cooper Sr. Obituary
Dr. Gerald J. Cooper Sr.

Windsor Heights

A rosary and prayer service for Dr. Gerald Joseph Cooper Sr., 87, who passed away Friday, July 11, 2014 at the Bickford Cottage Assisted Living will be held at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 16 at Caldwell Raddatz Funeral Home and Crematory in Urbandale. Visitation will be one hour prior to services. A graveside service will be held 10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 17 at the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.

Dr. Gerald Joseph Cooper was born in Ames, Iowa on August 3, 1926 to Louis C. & Aldeba Cooper. Gerald was a middle child of three.

Gerald attended the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (COMS). He graduated near the top of his class in 1956. After graduation, Dr. Cooper relocated to Davenport, IA, where he established a general practice with an emphasis on osteopathic manipulative treatment. He devoted his professional life to practicing osteopathic medicine and promoting the profession both nationally and internationally. During his 26 years as a general practitioner, he was a resident physician and then "Chief of Staff" at Davenport Osteopathic Hospital.

Dr. Cooper was active in various organizations. A Fellow in good standing of the American Academy of Osteopathy beginning in 1976. He was also a member of the Cranial Academy where he served as treasurer and president. He was a member of AOA and the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Cooper had articles published in Osteopathic Annals and the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Gerald wooed his sweetheart, Mary Ellen Brady, winning her hand in marriage on June 23, 1956 in Bellwood, NE. They originally planned a small wedding, but word spread to their friends and before they knew it, the country church filled to capacity, everyone bringing decorations, food, and well wishes. Mary considers Gerald her "Prince" even after 58 years of marriage.

In 1986, Gerald founded a DMU campus Medical Explorer Post of the Boy Scouts of America where young adults are taught clinical practices and shown the rewarding points in joining a medical field. Gerald continued advising for the program after his retirement from 1989-2009. The Dr. Gerald Cooper Award is given to any post member with perfect attendance for an academic year.

Gerald joined the faculty at Des Moines University in 1985, often serving beyond expectations. He served as a full-time faculty member in the Department of OMM from 1985-1987 and also as a guest lecturer from 1997-2005. Each year Dr. Cooper voluntarily taught a 40-hour course in cranial osteopathy to first and second year students. He was actively involved in the interview process of the DMU students.

Governor Terry Branstad awarded Gerald the title of Emeritus Professor of Osteopathic Manual Medicine in 2006. Gerald was an exceptional role model for the students and junior faculty. Like a rock star, Dr. Cooper was often stopped by prior students, former patients and peers everywhere he went.

Gerald played the saxophone and flew his own plane. He was a man of infectious spirit. An honorable, kind, generous, ever humble soul. He loved to hear and tell a good joke. A die-hard Hawkeye fan, he had season tickets every year and never missed the ISU and U&I showdown.

Active up until his eighties, he worked-out regularly at the YMCA. He loved to read, mostly educational publications or self improvement books. Gerald enjoyed a daily cup of coffee at HyVee. He routinely sat in the cafeteria to read the newspaper and converse with friends and HyVee employees.

Dr. Cooper is survived by his wife Mary Ellen, brother Dr. Louis F. Cooper & Bonnie, nephew Marcel Mosse & wife Maureen, son Gerald Joseph Cooper Jr, daughter Mary Catherine Schlemmer and her husband Bernie, Grandchildren: Willard Rathjen III, Shawn Rathjen & his wife Cassandra, Jason Richards & his wife Mindy, Christie & Buck Gibson, Great grandchildren: Sydney, Brooklyn, Rachel, Veronika, Jordan, Tyler, Zara, Brandon, Gracie and Wil.

Dr. Cooper will be remembered for his healing touch and warm, genuine smile.

Online condolences may be expressed at


Published in Des Moines Register on July 14, 2014
Read More
More Information
Planning Guide
Send Me a Planning Guide
Free funeral planning guide compliments of Caldwell Parrish Funeral Home