John Alfred Cooper Jr.

September 13, 1938January 6, 2013

John Alfred Cooper, Jr., 74, of Bella Vista, Arkansas died January 6, 2013. He was born September 13, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee, to John Alfred Cooper and Mildred Borum Woollard Cooper and spent his youth in West Memphis, Arkansas.

He was a graduate of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis Tennessee with a post graduate year at Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama. He attended the University of Arkansas where he majored in business and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He later served in the Air Force National Guard and was called for active duty during the Pueblo Crisis. He joined his father’s company, The Cherokee Village Development Company, which over the years converted to Cooper Communities, Inc. He was elected President in 1968 and Chairman of the Board in 2002, a position he occupied at his death. Through his leadership the company developed planned retirement communities across the Southeastern United States including Arkansas communities of Cherokee Village, Bella Vista Village and Hot Springs Village; Tellico Village in Tennessee; Savannah Lakes Village in South Carolina; Glade Springs in West Virginia and Stonebridge Village and Creekmoor in Missouri. Cooper Communities, Inc. is also a developer of vacation ownership resorts and commercial properties throughout the region.

Mr. Cooper served on the boards of Walmart, J. B. Hunt Transport Company , Entergy, Arkla Gas Company, Arkansas Power and Light, Union Planters Bank, and Worthen Bank Holding Company. He was a founding member of the Arkansas Business Council and Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel Foundation.

He was honored as a 1998 recipient of the Sam Walton Award, presented by the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce. An avid sportsman and hunter, he loved the outdoors and was a charter member of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees and served on that board from 1983 until 1986. The Arkansas Nature Conservancy recognized him in 1994 for his leadership role in the Arkansas Corporate Council for Conservation. In 2003, that organization honored Mr. Cooper by establishing The Cooper Family Conservation Award. The award is presented annually to a business, organization or individual who has made outstanding contributions to conservation in Arkansas. As a lifelong philanthropist to many causes he was instrumental in providing property for the Bella Vista library, The Nature Conservancy, numerous community parks and recreation projects, and through Cooper Communities, Inc. donated locations for over 50 churches and 5 schools.

Survivors include Pat, his wife of 47 years, a daughter, Mary Virginia Cooper Reid of Dallas, Texas and Aspen, Colorado, two sons, John A. Cooper, III, and Borum M. Cooper and wife Jamie Mayes Cooper, all of Rogers, Arkansas, and two grandchildren, Cooper McInnis Reid and Mary Tarver Reid of Dallas, Texas and Aspen, Colorado. Other survivors include two sisters, Boyce Woollard Billingsley of Bentonville, and Rebecca Cooper Whelan and husband John of Hot Springs. He was preceded in death by a sister, Ann Woollard Basore.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 10 at the First United Methodist Church in Bella Vista, Arkansas, under the direction of Rollins Funeral Home of Rogers, Arkansas, with Senator Kaneaster Hodges officiating.

Memorials may be made to The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel Foundation, P.O. Box 5001, Bella Vista, Arkansas 72714, The Arkansas Nature Conservancy, 601 North University, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, and Delta Water Fowl, P.O. Box 3128, Bismarck, ND 58502.


  • Funeral Service Thursday, January 10, 2013

John Alfred Cooper Jr.

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Pat Harlan Bales

January 17, 2013

Caring thoughts are with you

Cissy Harlan Reynolds

January 14, 2013

Mary Virginia, Pat, Borum and John#3

You`re in my thoughts and prayers

Sharon Breyman

January 11, 2013

Pat, Mary, John, and Borum,
I have so many fond memories of your family as a teacher at Bentonville, and also teaching Sunday School at the Methodist Church. (this was in the 70's). You were always so nice, and
helped the schools immensely. I remember Mary, John III, and Borum as just adorable children. Borum was in the Sunday School class across from mine, and his friend couldn't get the magic market to work. He commented to his friend "just spit on it, and will
My prayers are with the whole Cooper Family as I knew so many of you when I lived in Bella Vista. May God Bless you all.

Jim Caldwell

January 11, 2013

To The Cooper Family,

My deepest sympathies to all of you in the loss of John. Every occasion that I had to meet and discuss issues affecting Cooper Communities always deepened my appreciation for the kind and considerate (yet focused) way he conducted business. My sense was that he was a person of quiet fortitude, yet very interested in the well being of people and dedicated to making our world a better place. I treasure the memories of working with him on a number of occasions. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you celebrate his life and home going. John, soldier on, my friend. You have lived well.

January 11, 2013

Mike and I wish to extend our sympathy on the loss of your brother, John. Our thoughts and prayers and with you at this time. Mike & Harriet Jones

Ed Pasierb

January 10, 2013

Served along side with John In the 154th Weather Flight ANG in the 60s.Even though our association was limited, John never had a bad day, and he made sure that we stayed in a good mood. Never beat him at golf. Wish I had learned that smile! Rest in peace my friend.

January 10, 2013

To the Cooper family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time in the loss of Mr. Cooper. We know he will be missed by all.

Village Home Center Hot Springs Village

Kaye Safley

January 10, 2013

To the family of John A Cooper, Jr.

Another of the greatest generation has passed. My parents, Boyd and Maxine Carpenter of Ash Flat, AR always spoke well of the Cooper family---their work ethic, and their kindness. I remember going to the opening of Cherokee Village when I was about 10 years old. It made an impression on me at that age, perhaps because my dad spoke highly of it. My wish for the family is that God give them peace during this difficult time. I hope that your many memories will bring you comfort.

With deepest respect and condolences, Kaye (Carpenter) Safley

Meg Butler

January 10, 2013

Pat, I am so sorry to hear the news. Sue let me know, and I wish I could be there with you tomorrow. You and your children are in my prayers.


January 10, 2013

To Pat and all the family, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of John, Jr.'s passing. We have fond memories of all the times we flew together. He will be missed, and may the Lord bless and comfort all of you.
Allan and Gency Jackson, Rogers, AR.