70 Years of Preaching
As of September 21, 2011, my father, Denver Cooper, completed 70 years of preaching the gospel of Christ. When he was 18 years old, Dad preached his first sermon in Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 21, 1941. Thus, began his long career of preaching and teaching the good news of Christ. For 70 years, he has abided by Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 and has preached the word, been instant in season and out of season, reproved, rebuked, and exhorted with all long suffering and doctrine. He has been fully devoted to the work that has been entrusted to him.
In 1941, he graduated from Parkersburg High School and went on to finish preacher training classes at Freed-Hardeman College in 1943. Dad married my mother, Florence Smith, March 25, 1945, and began his first located work with the Harrisville, West Virginia, congregation. He has been located in the following places: in Ohio, Ironton and Toronto; in Virginia, Timberville; in West Virginia, Harrisville, Chester, Barbour County, West Street and Weirton Heights in Weirton, Ravenswood, Dewey Avenue in St. Marys, Valley Bend, and Hillview Terrace in Moundsville. In addition to these labors, Dad kept a busy gospel meeting schedule as well as speaking on many lectureships in the Ohio Valley, Kanawha Valley, and at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. He continues to keep busy with speaking engagements on Sundays, gospel meetings, and lectureships.
Along with full time preaching, in 1961, Dad became a charter member of the Board of Directors of Ohio Valley College, and once served as acting president in 1964. Also, Dad was involved in constructing church buildings and preacher’s houses in Toronto, Ohio; Weirton and Franklin in West Virginia; and at Strasburg in Virginia.
Several years ago, Dad travelled the Bible lands with some others and his good friend, Lewis Mikell, who, also, this year has completed 70 years of preaching.
In 1994, Dad was instrumental in beginning the West Virginia School of Preaching in Moundsville, West Virginia, and was one of the first faculty members of the school. In 2003, he was asked by the Hillview Terrace elders to assume the directorship of the school. Ask any student, previous or current, and you will find that he has instilled in them that preaching is serious business. He continues, to this day, in this work as the director of the school.
There has always been a great respect shown to Dad by the Hillview elders, students, and faculty of the school. He has always tried to do his part in encouraging the students, as well as all preachers of the gospel, throughout his life. His brother, Don; his son, Eddie; two sons-in-law, Robert Noland and J.D. Conley; and grandson, Shane Conley, have been encouraged by him and his life to be sound gospel preachers, presenting the whole counsel of God.
My dad had a loving companion in my now deceased mother, Florence, who always supported him in his many endeavors. She gave much of her time to the work of the church even while taking care of their nine children. Their home was always open to stranger and friend. Through the years, many preachers have stayed in their home and enjoyed her good meals and kind hospitality.
We wanted to share this space with others to let them know of the many years Dad has given as a soldier of the cross. Many are now in the kingdom as a result of his work.
May God richly bless his life with many more years in which to serve our Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ. -1036 Greenland Circle, South Charleston, WV 25309. firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to West Virginia Christian