Cooper, Richard Gilbert (1888-1966)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

RICHARD GILBERT COOPER: born at Oakengates in Shropshire in the year 1888, After training for the ministry at Hartley-Victoria College he was appointed to the Monmouth Circuit. As a minister of the Primitive Methodist Church he travelled mainly in the North and Midlands. Halstead, The Custom House, Ramsor, Chorley, Oldham (III), Buxton, and Leamington Spa were places where he ministered. Methodist Union brought him further south with ministeries at Eastbourne, Salisbury, and then for eight years, including the period of the Second World War, Basingstoke where, besides ministering to the local people, he included in his care an endless succession of men in the forces. Perhaps this is where he came to be known as a “man’s man’’. He completed his full ministry in the north again at Whitchurch (Castle Hill), though afterwards he had pastoral charge in the Wimborne Circuit for seven years as an active supernumerary until ill health intervened. 

After another period in the north he came to Deal in Kent where he delighted both himself and his hearers by doing some preaching again. On the Sunday before he died he took morning service. He had always been a good preacher of the Gospel. He had the equipment, for besides keeping up with his Greek Testament he read as widely as he travelled! He was still buying new books to exercise his scholarly mind. He was a jolly man, with a keen sense of humour, and pastoral work came to him naturally. He enjoyed visiting and was a constant tower of strength in the home in times of sorrow and sickness. His people have always regarded him with affection and respect. For, besides being a good preacher and pastor, he was an excellent administrator.

As a man he had a capacity for enjoyment—people, books, cricket, food, home comforts all gave him immeasurable pleasure. Not least did he delight in his church and love his Lord. He died suddenly during the early hours of 12 February 1966, in the Lloyd Memorial Caxton Home, Deal, in the seventy-eighth year of his life and the fifty-fourth of his ministry.


Richard was born on 10 May 1888 at Oakengates, Shropshire, to parents George Richard, a piano tuner, and Sarah Jane. He was baptised on 19 September 1888 at Oakengates, Shropshire.

He married Lily Hedger (b1887) in the summer of 1916 at Monmouth, Monmouthshire. Birth Records identify one child.

  • Bernard K (1917-1965) – a solicitor’s articled clerk (1939)

Richard died on 12 February 1966 at Deal, Kent.


  • Hartley
  • 1912 Monmouth
  • 1914 Halstead
  • 1915 Custom House
  • 1916 Ramsor
  • 1920 Chorley
  • 1922 Oldham III
  • 1925 Buxton
  • 1928 Leamington
  • 1932 Eastbourne
  • 1934 Salisbury
  • 1940 Basingstoke
  • 1948 Whitchurch, Castle Hill
  • 1953 Wimbourne (S)


Methodist Minutes 1966/206

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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