Cover photo for Gary Dotson Cooper's Obituary
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Gary

Gary Dotson Cooper

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Gary D. Cooper, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend, transitioned on June 29, 2023 in Washington, D.C. Known for his kind spirit, devotion to family, rich heritage, military accomplishments, and church involvement; he will be remembered as someone who brought love, warmth, and a deep sense of faith to those fortunate enough to have known him.

Born on November 24, 1946 at Nassau Hospital, in Mineola, N.Y., Gary was the eldest son of six-children born to Walter D. Cooper (deceased) and Inez M.L. Cooper (deceased) in Garden City Park, N.Y. He and his siblings Craig (deceased), Sharon (deceased), Darrell, Beverly, and Glenn, grew up in a supportive family that instilled in him the values of love, hard work, and dedication. From an early age, Gary demonstrated a thirst for knowledge and received his education through the Mineola Public School System with great diligence. He showed great interest and enjoyed Football, Lacrosse, Chorus, the Police Boys Club, the Sea Explorers, and a keen interest in Architectural Drafting. One of Gary’s architectural designs from a class project was chosen from amongst all of his peers. In fact, this structure still stands today as one of the buildings built on the Hampton Street Elementary School Stadium. Gary later graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. with an Associate’s Degree in Architecture, establishing a strong foundation for a life dedicated to learning and personal growth. 

Shortly thereafter, he was drafted into the United States Army. Gary completed Officer’s Training at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he graduated as a 1st Lieutenant. During his tenure there, he went on to complete The United States Army Airborne School—widely known as “Jump School” and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, then Captain. Gary returned home in 1972 after serving multiple tours in Vietnam. As an Officer serving seven years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he was also the recipient of two Bronze stars for Outstanding Performance for Construction. Gary’s dedication to his family, faith, and country was mirrored in his service to our nation and he was a proud United States Army Veteran who was honorably discharged after his years of service. His commitment to defending our nation and protecting the freedoms we hold dear will forever be remembered and honored.

With an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary relocated to Virginia to pursue a commercial landscaping, then commercial construction business which he named after his father. Later in life, Gary moved to Washington, D.C. and found joy and cherished moments after meeting and then marrying his beloved wife of twenty-one years, Debbie (Lopez) Cooper. He enjoyed gatherings, where he could share war stories, enjoy eating fresh homemade biscuits, and talk about religion, politics and current events. His humor and caring nature made him the heart and soul of many family gatherings. Gary was always eager to share his knowledge and experiences, leaving a lasting impact on others – especially the next generation.

Gary’s passion about the Lord brought him a sense of purpose and joy. Growing up, he attended and gave his heart to the Lord at Bethel Bible Christian Church in Garden City Park, N.Y. As a youth, Gary also found new life in Christ through baptism. Three of his aunts also taught his Sunday School classes. In his adult life, Gary paid it forward and taught Sunday School and attended Virtual Bible Study with Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ near his home in Washington, D.C. Throughout his life, Gary embraced his heritage and celebrated it through various cultural activities. He also delighted in Black History, where he could connect with his roots and share the richness of his background with others. Gary’s commitment to honoring his spiritual and cultural heritage created a legacy that will continue to inspire and unite his family and community.

Gary leaves behind a legacy of love, cherished memories, a commitment to family, and a deep sense of faith. He is survived by his loving wife Debbie L. Cooper, his son Justin Gilbert (wife Shavalyea; son Justin Jr.), siblings Darrell, Beverly, and Glenn; niece Stephanie Troxler Thompson (husband Ed; daughter Karis) and Danielle and Pilar Henderson; nephews Mazi Mutafa (wife Kameron); Brian Troxler (wife Laurene); and Aaron, brother-in-law Gilbert Troxler, aunt Greta A. Tonge, a wide circle of cousins, extended family, long-time neighbors and friends. Gary’s presence will be deeply missed, but his memory will continue to live on through the stories, traditions, and love shared by those fortunate enough to have been touched by his life. May we all find solace in the love and memories we shared, and may Gary forever be in our hearts.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Dotson Cooper, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering

Thursday, July 13, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home

4143 Dale Boulevard, Dale City, VA 22193

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Celebration of Life

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home

4143 Dale Boulevard, Dale City, VA 22193

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Interment

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Quantico National Cemetery

, Triangle, VA

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