The “grand old man” of the Boys’ Brigade in Belfast and district, Rev R H S Cooper, died yesterday at his residence, Belsize Road, Lisburn. For a considerable time he had been in failing health, but he had only retired from active work last year.
The Rev Robert Henry Simmonds Cooper was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and took his BA degree in 1884. He was ordained in 1887 in Lisburn Cathedral, so that he began his ministerial career where he ended it.
In everything he undertook Mr Cooper worked with energy and enthusiasm. His parish in Lisburn was large, but he devoted himself wholeheartedly to his pastoral duties, and he was esteemed and beloved by all his parishioners.
Mr Cooper’s work on behalf of the Boys’ Brigade made him well-known in Belfast. In a recent Boys’ Brigade publication a reference to Mr Cooper summed up his work. This reference was as follows: “For the past 25 years the gentle but firm guidance of the Rev R H S Cooper has been a sheet anchor to the Belfast Battalion through many a difficult time. His intense and enthusiastic interest in all details of our work has been an inspiring example to the younger men, and sometimes, perhaps, a silent rebuke. What the Battalion owes to him cannot be expressed in words. The Dublin Battalion also has reason to be grateful, as it was indirectly due to Mr Cooper that the 1st Dublin Company was formed in 1891.” He was 67 years of age and unmarried.