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Joseph Cooper

On August 26, 2022, Joseph Francis Cooper peacefully passed away at the age of 84.

He was born in Philadelphia July 20th, 1938.  As the son of William and Catherine from Scotland and Ireland respectively, Joe was the third of four boys which preceded him in death: William, James, & John.  He was raised in the Kensington section of Philadelphia in the 1940s and 50s attending St. Joan of Arc elementary school.

At a young age, Joe formed a strong bond with his brothers that lasted throughout the years. Joe and his brothers thoroughly enjoyed being in each other’s company, as well as their many cousins. In childhood, Joe enjoyed many activities including fishing with his brothers and his father, even building his own fishing rods.  With his father, he loved his childhood dog Duke.  As a young teen, he worked for a candy maker with his brothers and made hard candy by hand.  Also, he often helped his father who was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Nationals soccer team, handing out game programs and handling equipment.

 As a graduate from North Catholic High School 1956, Joe enjoyed participating in track and field as well as stage performance.

After high school, Joe enlisted in the US Army and served with the 82nd Airborne and Ranger then, with the 1st Special Forces as a military advisor while in Vietnam.  During an interesting four years, it was at his second time in Fort Bragg, NC during which he was a part of a historic event that would land him in the presence of President Kennedy in 1961.  It was here that the official headgear became the Green Beret, that Joe wore proudly.  He served honorably through early 1963.

Soon after returning home from Vietnam, he began dating his childhood friend and Venango Street native, Agnes Howard.  Marrying in 1965, they embarked on a 56 year long loving marriage.  For 55 of those years, they lived in the same house, building lifelong relationships with their wonderful neighbors. Together, they raised three sons and one happy dog, Hunter.  Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Joe helped raise his family getting involved with kids’ activities through sports and Boy Scouts.  Family vacations included trips to the Jersey shore, skiing in PA, and Disney World, FL.  In later years, Joe and Agnes loved to travel around the country, cruises to the Caribbean, and many happy years in Sea Isle City, NJ.

Over the years, he enjoyed owning different of vehicles including a US Army Willys Jeep, a 67’ Corvette Stingray convertible, a 61’ Chrysler, a Cruisers Trojan F26 boat, and even a 36’ Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine.

Joe had a strong work ethic and was known to build and fix just about anything.  Working around the house was a huge part of his day to day.  He always had many ongoing projects.  And, not just at his home but he would help others too.  When he wasn’t doing work at his own house, he would try to help his sons with work in their homes as well. Joe surely was a “jack of all trades, and a master of most”.

From the late 1980s until the early 2000s, he loved spending time in Sea Isle City with family and friends. During these shore trips, Joe enjoyed group cruise trips, occasional casino visits, and surf fishing on the beach.  It was here that Joe and Agnes celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on the beach which included a group of thirty or so, random costumes, a dip in the ocean, numerous onlookers and a prop plan fly over with a banner that unfortunately contained a misspelling… “Happy Anniversary Joe and Anges”. This brought many laughs to those around them.

Upon retirement from the construction industry, Joe had amassed over 60 years in the construction industry primarily working as an estimator.  For 15 of those years, he had owned his own company.  During his retirement, he began spectating Federal Court, attending auction events, and of course spending time with grandkids.

Joe had a love of learning. He had an extensive knowledge of military history, gathering numerous books and mementos.  In addition, this interest led him to many museum visits and annual WWII weekend events.  Even on an occasional Christmas morning, Joe could be found at the reenactment of Washington’s Crossing. With the love of exploring and experiencing new things, Joe had such a sense of curiosity and really didn’t let challenges get in the way of learning new things. 

The kitchen was a place where Joe loved to spend time.  He genuinely enjoyed cooking, baking, and sharing what he made with others.  As he may have stated once or twice, he might (jokingly) refer to his dishes as “world famous”.  Among many highlights, included were cinnamon (shhticky) buns, pizzas from scratch, an array of delicious soups including split pea soup.  He also had a knack for knowing how to cook for large groups, feeding everyone and, have nothing remain.  He loved hosting backyard barbecue parties, sometimes using a homemade grille to accommodate larger groups.

Making his grandchildren happy was a priority to Joe. He loved to make handmade games for his grandkids, with old toys and miscellaneous material he stirred their competitive spirit, and they would always happily engage. In addition to Joe’s inquisitive nature, he carried a sense of humor that garnered the attention of his grandkids.  Even as they grew older, they would still ask him to show them how he “mysteriously” had whipped cream slowly leak out of his mouth while he held the can dispensing towards his ear. He supported and loved his grandchildren in any way he could.

Joe was the loving husband of Agnes (nee Howard) for 56 years.  A lifelong Philadelphian.  Beloved father of Joseph (Lori, dec’d), Kenneth (Veronica) and Michael (Mary). Pop Pop to Haley, Molly, Ryan, Jack, Caroline, Michael, Owen, & Jackie. 


Relatives and friends are invited to call Thursday, September 8th, from 9 to 11am.  Funeral Service will follow at 11am.  Interment with honors will take place at 1pm at Washington’s Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown.

Joe was a contributor and a strong advocate to the Wounded Warriors Project.  In lieu flowers please consider donations to this causeor

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Service/Memorial Information
  • Visitation

    Thursday, September 8th, 2022
    9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Louis C. Galzerano Funeral Home, Inc.
    9304 Old Bustleton Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19115

  • Service

    Thursday, September 8th, 2022
    11:00 AM

    Louis C. Galzerano Funeral Home, Inc.
    9304 Old Bustleton Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19115

  • Interment

    Thursday, September 8th, 2022
    1:00 PM

    Washington Crossing National Cemetery
    830 Highland Road
    Newtown, PA 18940

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