Businessman Gerald Cooper honed his expertise within the Montreal Pool Room

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The Globe and Mail


Gerald Lawrence Cooper.

Courtesy of household

Gerald Lawrence Cooper: Autodidact. Folksinger. Entrepreneur. Irreverent. Born June 22, 1934, in Montreal; died June 3, 2020, in Toronto, of prostate most cancers; aged 85.

“Jerry” impressed others together with his kindness, loyalty, humour and appreciation for the absurd.

Born in Montreal to immigrant mother and father, “Yossel” spoke Yiddish first. His first date together with his soulmate, Jocelyn Dlusy, was in highschool. He was fairly shy and Jocelyn waited patiently for him to carry her hand on the film. Later, Jocelyn promised to kiss him in public if he may get 5 strikes in a row throughout their date at a bowling alley – fairly a daring transfer in 1951.

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Jerry performed clarinet within the Baron Byng Excessive Faculty band and within the Montreal Junior Symphony. He later taught himself guitar, banjo, mandolin and piano. Jerry and Jocelyn would make music collectively for practically 66 years in 4 languages, a lot of it songs they wrote to music he composed. In later years, they even had their very own YouTube channel.

By 26, Jerry was a father to Stephen, Brian and Shari. He may very well be a considerably strict mum or dad, however the household was at all times his focus. He inspired Jocelyn to color and write, and his gift-giving was considerate: no jewelry however a set of Oxford dictionaries and her (beloved) autoharp.

Whereas learning for his CA at McGill in his late teenagers, Jerry honed his billiard expertise within the Montreal Pool Room, enjoying with legends corresponding to Leo Levitt. For a lot of his life he most popular to play three-cushion billiards – a really tough recreation! Jerry was additionally an skilled bridge participant – a Life Grasp. When Stephen was 12, Jerry taught a gaggle of his son’s buddies to play, then entered them right into a event. All turned lifelong gamers.

Jerry ran a number of companies, typically closing offers on a handshake. As soon as, when a shopper was going bankrupt, Jocelyn requested her husband in regards to the cash that was owed him. Had he requested for it? No, Jerry stated, as a result of “that may have jeopardized our relationship.”

The spotlight of Jerry’s profession was when he and his enterprise companions developed Rapatax, a pre-PC, computerized income-tax service for accountants. Its success was featured as a case examine in a 1980 enterprise textbook. Each tax season, Jerry employed his youngsters’s buddies to collate and package deal tax returns. For many, it was their first job, working lengthy hours within the workplace, with late-night pizza or Chinese language meals and an amazing sense of camaraderie.

In 1975, a little-known Steve Wozniak appeared in his workplace and provided him the Canada-wide Apple franchise. As Jerry instructed it, had he been capable of finding an additional $5,000, life would have been totally different. As a substitute, he was left with one thing that he valued far more – a narrative that he may retell without end.

In his early 50s, Jerry realized he was working “simply to pay the mortgage,” so he and Jocelyn retired and moved to a cottage on Lake Chemong in Peterborough, Ont. They travelled, and spent winters at their house in Florida, the place a endless parade of family and friends had been welcomed.

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Jerry liked a very good argument and was at all times able to make others uncomfortable with their long-held positions. He believed that even when the bulk disagrees with you, it doesn’t imply you’re flawed. He additionally acted on his rules, when Quebec’s premier dominated that solely French may seem on indicators, Jerry fought again by serving to discovered Quebec’s Equality Occasion in 1989.

He learn non-fiction, science fiction and something by his favorite atheists. Jerry was an avid sailor, golfer, author and thinker, and he at all times stored a toonie in his automobile to provide the person on the nook. Jerry referred to him as his “assistant heart specialist” as a result of he at all times instructed Jerry that he had a very good coronary heart.

Stephen and Brian Cooper are Jerry’s sons; Jocelyn Cooper is his spouse; Shari Friedman is his daughter.

To submit a Lives Lived: lives@globeandmail.com

Lives Lived celebrates the on a regular basis, extraordinary, unheralded lives of Canadians who’ve lately handed. To discover ways to share the story of a member of the family or good friend, log on to tgam.ca/livesguide



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