Below is the obituary that has been posted for Thomas (Tom) Cooper’s death. If nothing else I thought I would post this here for the record. In my last blog post I mentioned my condolences and reaction to hearing about his death. As I stated there I am glad that put on hold my blog that both critiques Tom’s book and Maranatha for a while. Tom seemed to take my questioning and criticism quite personally and wouldn’t have been the best for his health.
Tom Cooper was the author of the book “Raising Jesus The Story of the Maranatha House” a book that I see a number of flaws in it including wanting to mostly focus on the good while vaguely mentioning just how abusive the ministry became. It is hard to believe someone could title a book about Maranatha using the words “Raising Jesus” with the group’s abusive history though I am sure most of those involved in Maranatha thought they were “raising Jesus.”
Thomas Kelly Cooper (Tom) 64, Fredericksburg, began his Heavenly residence on February 9, 2017. Tom was born on February 5, 1953 in Paducah, Kentucky to William B. Cooper, Sr. and June Elaine Waggoner Cooper.
Viewing for Tom will be held at 1:30 to 3 p.m. on February 25, 2017 at Mullins and Thompson Funeral Services, Fredericksburg Chapel. A memorial service will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on February 26, 2017 at Salem Fields Community Church with light food catered. Pastor Steve Weber of Freedom Church will be officiating. Burial will be in Carthage, Mississippi at Rocky Hill Cemetery.
Tom was survived by his wife of 34 years, Karen Cooper, by daughters Kelly Cooper (James Mainey) and Jennifer Cordero, son-in-law Anthony Cordero and granddaughter Charlotte Cordero. Tom is also survived by his brother William B. Cooper (Gayle), sister Mildred Cooper Russell (Henry), and brother Edward Cooper (Laurie).
Tom was proud to serve his country and retired as the Chief Accountant of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As a devoted servant of Christ, Tom’s witness brought many people to a relationship with Christ and a stronger walk with God. Tom served as a pastor and teacher with Maranatha Ministries and authored the inspirational book Raising Jesus. Tom’s example of faith and of Christ’s love for all is his greatest legacy.
Tom’s life was one of faith, determination and perseverance, as he overcame numerous health issues. In February of 1979, Tom received a kidney transplant from his younger brother. Tom became one of the longest living organ transplant recipients in the world. He was, through his life story, his work with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and other donor advocate originations, and his book Miracle at Exit Three, an amazing advocate for organ donation.
I do have a few comments.
Tom Cooper Maranatha Pastor??
This obituary claims Tom was a pastor of Maranatha. This is the first time that I have heard this. I certainly don’t recall Tom ever mentioning this in the (many times) heated discussions I had with him including my questioning his actual involvement with the group. Does anyone know of the specific details of Tom being a pastor?
I seem to recall Tom mentioning he wasn’t involved with Maranatha that long especially due health issues. Thus if Tom was a pastor apparently it was earlier in the ministry and thus was around when the group was more in the Spirit vs. in later years as the group became more arrogant, authoritarian and legalistic. This may explain why Tom’s book is so skewed.
Mark Beliles did make a Facebook post that included this about Tom Cooper:
a couple days later I said goodbye to my old college best friend Tom Cooper who went on to heaven. He was so important to me. He was the first person who discipled me and spent almost every day with me for two years teaching me the Word and praying for me. But he and I then started a campus organization at Western Kentucky University and we proceeded to invite many Christian speakers and Christian musical performers that led to thousands of students hearing the gospel and many hundreds of them received Jesus as their Savior.
Though Mark didn’t mention it I am assuming he indicating that they both started a branch of Maranatha at this college campus. If that is the case it is interesting that Mark didn’t mention Maranatha. Then again a lot of former Maranatha leaders don’t seem to want to mention their involvement or de-emphasize it. Contrast that with Tom Cooper having it boldly mentioned this in his obituary but on the other hand he did write a book about Maranatha.