A man who was integral to building the Chico News & Review died a week ago Sunday, and we want to honor him here. He was Richard Cooper, and for a decade or more in the 1980s and early ‘90s he was an advertising sales representative for the paper—perhaps the best, and certainly the most loyal and eager, sales rep the paper has ever had.
There were a couple of reasons why he was so good at what he did. First, he was a garrulous guy with the gift of gab, a real people person. More important, though, he loved the paper and believed in it, and he was able to share his enthusiasm with others.
Coop, who was just 59 when he died, was a Vietnam veteran, an infantryman who’d fought in the secret war in Cambodia. It was hard for the rest of us to imagine this sweet guy who was so kind to all living creatures as someone who’d hefted an M-16 through the jungle in search of people to kill. What we did know was that he lived with terrible memories and stress and that all his life he struggled to find peace, often in ways that weren’t good for him. But he was never morose, and he always gave his best, whether in his music, his work or his innumerable friendships.
Coop’s warmth and good cheer were wondrous gifts. We were blessed to know him. He will be missed.