Memoriam to Philip S. Cooper


Philip S. Cooper was one of the founding members of Busby, Austin, Cooper & Farr in May, 1966, along with Lawrence M. Busby, Robert L. Austin, and John A. Farr. He was a consummate lawyer who was admired for his thorough attention to detail, his modest and kind, gentlemanly manner, his sense of humor, his strict ethics, devotion to fairness, and his ability to maintain confidences. As an example of keeping secrets, while representing Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana in 1984, Mr. Cooper was instrumental in working out the contract for bringing the Indianapolis Colts to the university for summer training camp. To the surprise of even his own partners, he never mentioned his involvement until after the announcement was made in the local newspaper. Although he kept a stern demeanor with most, he was very interesting, funny and entertaining at parties and other gatherings, often dropping unknown facts from his capacious memory. For example, he informed others at one party that he actually knew the original Ethel Mertz, for whom Lucille Ball’s partner on the I Love Lucy television series was named, and that she was from Anderson, Indiana.

It was Mr. Sipes’s privilege to work alongside Mr. Cooper from 1984 through 2003, when Mr. Cooper retired and took up residency with his beloved wife Lucille in Florida.

Mr. Cooper distinguished himself especially in the area of probate law. He showed respect to all attorneys and judges with whom he worked in Madison County and throughout the State of Indiana.

Mr. Cooper was a great supporter of many charitible organizations, including the Indiana Bar Foundation (IBF). Most people do not know it, but upon the death of every Madison County attorney or judge, Mr. Cooper made a $100 contribution to IBF in the name of the deceased lawyer or jurist. Mr. Sipes has made the same contribution to honor Mr. Cooper and his fine tradition, and invites other Madison County attorneys to make similar donations in his memory. Currently, the Indiana State Bar Association is matching any gift to IBF until June, 2013. Your tax deductible donation will count toward that match, doubling its impact.

Mr. Cooper’s obituary follows:

December 10, 2011
Philip S. Cooper

June 15, 1919 – Dec. 6, 2011

The Herald Bulletin

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Philip Sheldon Cooper, of Fort Myers, Fla., died on Dec. 6, 2011. He was born June 15, 1919, in Greenfield, Ind., the son of Sheldon B. and Ruth M. (Hilt) Cooper.

After serving in the Army of the United States from 1942 to 1946, he moved to Anderson, Ind., where he lived and practiced law from 1948 to 2003. Upon his retirement from the practice of law in 2003, he became a full-time resident of Fort Myers, Fla., where he had been a winter resident since 1988.

He is survived by Lucille Newland Cooper, his wife of 67 years, whom he married on July 1, 1944. He is also survived by two daughters, Patricia Randolph of Fort Myers, Fla., and Nancy Pitt (married to Jerome O. Pitt) of Indianapolis, Ind.; and by seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and several cousins.

His son, Robert P. Cooper and his sister, Charlotte (Mrs. Robert L.) Austin preceded him in death.

Mr. Cooper received his B.S. degree (with distinction) in 1941, and his J.D. degree (with distinction) in 1948, both from Indiana University. He subsequently served as president of the Indiana University School of Law Alumni Association and president of the Indiana University School of Law — Indianapolis School of Law Alumni Association. He was a member of the first Board of Visitors of the Indiana University School of Law and a member of the first Board of Visitors of the Indiana University, Indianapolis School of Law. In 1987 he was awarded an Honorary LL.D by Anderson College (now Anderson University). He was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1948 and practiced law in that state for nearly 55 years. Mr. Cooper was one of the founding partners of the Busby, Austin, Cooper and Farr law firm in 1966, and remained associated with that firm until his retirement in 2003.

During his legal career, he was a member of Madison County (president, 1956), Indiana State (member of Board of Managers, now Board of Governors), 1975-1978, Chairman of the Probate, Trust and Real Property Section, 1963-1964, and American Bar Associations. He served as president of the Indiana Bar Foundation, as Indiana Chairman of The American College of Probate Counsel, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and as a director of Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum. He was a Life Patron Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. In 1998, Mr. Cooper was honored with the 50-year Award of the Fellows of the Indiana Bar Foundation, now the Legendary Law Award, in recognition of his conspicuous service to the profession of Law and to his community. He was a member of the board of directors of Anderson Banking Company from 1965 to 1993. He served as vice-chairman of the board and as chairman of the executive committee.

Among his community activities, he was a director of Anderson Chamber of Commerce, director of Madison County Chapter of the American Red Cross; director and treasurer of the United Way of Madison County; charter member, director and vice-president of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra Association; director of Anderson-Madison County Hospital Development Corporation, and a director and vice-president of Community Hospital. He served the Boys Scouts of America as a Cub Master, district chairman, member of the council executive board and as council president. In Anderson he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, which he had served as a deacon, trustee, elder and clerk of the Session. In Fort Myers, he was an associate member of The Chapel of Cypress Cove and served it as a director. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of Anderson Country Club, member of Whiskey Creek Country Club and member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity and Phi Eta Sigma, Beta Gamma Sigma and Order of the Coif scholastic fraternities.

A Celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

The family would like to express their thanks to Hope Hospice for their loving care and to all the wonderful friends and staff of Cypress Cove.

Those who wish to memorialize him are requested to make gifts to the charitable organizations of their choice. Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting www.fortmyersmemorial.com. Arrangements are being handled by Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home.