The late Ivan Cooper was a controversial figure among unionists but may have been ahead of his time, the acting leader of the Anglican faithful in Derry and Raphoe declared following his death on Wednesday.
The Venerable Robert Miller, Archdeacon of Derry, said the Derry civil rights icon was a monumental figure in Irish life and will be greatly missed in Derry and in the Parish of St. Peter’s, Culmore, where he worshipped in his latter years.
“Ivan Cooper was a towering figure in Northern Ireland’s recent history and a man who challenged all of us – from whatever section of the community we came – to work for a better society.
“For many Unionists he was a controversial figure and his motives were called into question.
“But in seeking a more equitable society, advocating for equality and supporting power-sharing, one might argue that Ivan was ahead of his time,” said Archdeacon Miller, who was recently appointed commissary of the Archbishop of Armagh, The Most Rev. Richard Clarke, and given the responsibility of caring for the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe until a successor to Bishop Ken Good is appointed.
Archdeacon Miller is also the Rector of the Grouped Parishes of Christ Church, Culmore, Muff and St. Peter’s, the latter of which will host Mr. Cooper’s funeral service on Friday.
“He was a man of vision, a man of courage and a man of faith.
“He will be greatly missed by the city and by his fellow parishioners of St. Peter’s in Londonderry where he had worshipped regularly over the last decade.
“I offer my condolences to Ivan’s wife Frances, his children Sinead and Bronagh, and the whole family circle,” said the Archdeacon.