The Archdeacon of Derry, Venerable Robert Miller, has described the late civil rights activist, Ivan Cooper, as “a man of vision, a man of courage and a man of faith”.
Mr Cooper, who died on Wednesday morning at the age of 75, was one of the founders of the SDLP. He had been a parishioner at St Peter’s Church in Londonderry of which Archdeacon Miller is the Rector.
Archdeacon Miller – who as Archbishop’s Commissary will be overseeing the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe pending the appointment of a new Bishop – will preside at Mr Cooper’s funeral service in St Peter’s on Friday afternoon.
“Ivan Cooper was a towering figure in Northern Ireland’s recent history, the Archdeacon said, “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.”
Even though he had been in poor health, in recent years, Mr Cooper still enjoyed coming to services and events at St Peter’s Church. “He was a man of vision, a man of courage and a man of faith,” Archdeacon Miller said. “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.”