Andrew Charles Cooper

April 1, 2004 – Oct. 27, 2020

Andrew Charles Cooper, 16, was called home by his Heavenly Father Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Andy — as he preferred to be called — was born April 1, 2004 in Cody, Wyo.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22 at Christ Lutheran Vail church in Andy’s hometown of Vail, Ariz. In lieu of flowers, the family asks remembrance donations in Andy’s name be made to the ARC of Northern Virginia.

Andy lived in Basin, Wyo., his first year, then moved with his family to Evansville, Ind., in 2005. He made three close friends there: Owen, London, and Aiden. He enjoyed preschool at Immanuel Lutheran and playing outdoors with siblings and neighborhood kids.

In 2009 he moved with his family to Annandale, Va., where they stayed until their 2019 move to Arizona (via Wyoming). Andy attended kindergarten through sixth grade at Wakefield Forest Elementary. He loved being at the pool in the summer and got his exercise walking the neighborhood, greeting everyone he met. Andy liked spending time with our neighbor Mr. Ted, who taught him to explore and appreciate the world around him, including care and feeding of snapping turtles and the finer points of butchering and cooking venison.

He had a small group of exceptionally good friends, including Kathleen, Abby, Davis, Gwen, Jenna, and his best friend, Anthony. He was welcomed as a Tiger scout into Troop 1864, where his “Perry the Platypus” pinewood derby car and “dirt-and-worms” layer cake each won first place for artistic creativity.

The teachers and professionals at Wakefield Forest provided Andy with an exemplary education by getting to know Andy on a personal level and genuinely caring about him. He was most often described as kind, gentle, and caring.  Though not overly talkative, his friends and teachers knew how to get him to smile and laugh by connecting with his sense of humor. Andy was always taking in information and had an amazing memory of geography and remarkable sense of direction.

Andy’s faith journey started with his baptism at Christ the King in Cody and was nurtured through active membership at St. Paul’s in Evansville, Prince of Peace in Springfield, Va., and Christ Lutheran, Vail, Ariz.. Andy’s love of youth group and Sunday school fostered at Prince of Peace continued unabated at Christ Lutheran Vail. His family will always be thankful to Pastor Christensen for working with Andy on his faith confession for communion and to Youth Pastor Durkin for encouraging Andy in the Christian disciplines of prayer and thanksgiving.

His mother Genevieve homeschooled Andy from seventh through 11th grade. The two spent many hours, days, weeks, and months working through academic and religious curriculum. Andy’s favorite subjects were History and Science. He read every book in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “3-Story Treehouse” series.

Andy’s education was augmented through many field trips and vacations, including the museums and monuments of Washington, D.C., the history, sites, and sounds of New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. He felt the waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of California, and Gulf of Alaska, and appreciated the cultures of Canada and Mexico. He visited 35 states and experienced the wonders of Yellowstone, Denali, Grand Canyon, St Louis Arch, Niagara Falls, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Washington Monument, White House, U.S. Capitol, Key West, Disney World, California sequoias, Mt. Rushmore, Griffith Observatory, Appalachian Trail, and rafting the New River gorge whitewater. He visited the southern-most and western-most points of the United States and fished the Louisiana bayous and Alaskan waters.

Andy developed a strong bond with family dogs Kelli, Cody, and Angel. But his emotional support dog, Daisy, was his great love. From the moment Daisy was adopted she knew her purpose was to become one with Andy. He deeply bonded with Daisy, and fed, watered, walked, played, trained, and cared for her every day.

Andy was a devoted fan of the New England Patriots and the Washington Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards and enjoyed the handful of opportunities he had to attend games. 

He was an avid gamer on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch platforms. Though skilled at many games, his favorite was Fortnite. Beyond playing he loved to participate in Fortnite Fashion Shows and custom matches and special events hosted by internet streamers. A highlight was being in New York City in person to see Bugha win the 2019 Fortnite world cup championship.

Andy much admired and loved family friend Josh McCoy. Josh and Andy could often be found hunting Pokémon, finding geocaches, enjoying dogs, or taking Jeep rides to get ice cream. Andy was a fixture on Josh’s Fortnite stream where they “cleared out bot lobbies” and “racked up dubs” for Team Winiikolia.

Andrew is survived by his parents, Aaron Cooper and Genevieve Cooper of Vail, Ariz.; brother and sister-in-law Matthew and Mariah Cooper of Blacksburg, Va.; sister Grace Cooper of Oxford, Ohio; sister Faith Cooper of Vail, Ariz.; great grandmother Barbara Blakesley of Thermopolis, Wyo.; grandparents Dave and Jeri Cooper of Basin, Wyo., Lois and Kelly Johnson of Soldotna, Alaska, and Bruce and Jill Haight of Story, Wyo.; great aunts and uncles Rob and Joan Cooper of Lincoln, Kan., Dennis and Ginger Cooper of California City, Calif., Larry and Deb Johnson of Gillette, Wyo., and Rachel Blakesley of Gillette, Wyo.; Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jason Hoyem and cousins Noah and James of Kasilof, Alaska, Angela and Keith Austin and cousins Madison and Trinity of Carleton Place, Ontario, Stephanie Vance and cousins Gage and Erin of Aurora, Colo., Jennifer and Randy Kirk and cousins Cooper and Sawyer of Basin, Wyo., Sherry-Lynn Daniells and cousin Julien of North Bay, Ontario, and Lindsey and Luke Mulford and cousins Katherine, Norah Beth, Ella, and Adelyn of Billings, Mont.