Very Bad News

Home Forums General Discussion Very Bad News

Viewing 20 reply threads
  • Author
    • #7802
      • Total Posts: 557

      We just talked to Sandy Cooper and she asked me to post that Gary died today in a construction accident. A deck fell on him and from what I can gather it was over pretty quick. Don’t know much more than that. Would appreciate anyone adding to this post what they know.

    • #7803
      jon serfas
      • Total Posts: 50

      I am so sorry to hear this. I am keeping Sandy in my thoughts and remembering all the time I shared with Gary on the River. Very Very Sad.

    • #7804
      • Total Posts: 413

      OMG I hate to hear this. Gary was one of the boaters that helped train me the most in the beginning. One of the nicest guys on the river. We all lost a great person.

    • #7805
      Matt Bliss
      • Total Posts: 33

      Very, very sad news indeed. Gary took me under his wing when I was newer to boating, and we’ve shared a lot of fun memories. My friend (who was also friends and a colleague of Gary), is the Carbondale building inspector and was on scene a little after accident. I can provide further details if and when the time is right. Thoughts and prayers for his family- RIP Gary.

    • #7806
      • Total Posts: 49

      This is just terribly sad news. I send my sincere condolences to the Cooper family and all the rest of us who lost this good friend.  Kathy Pzonka introduced me to Coop earlier this year when I was just learning whitewater. Coop was very helpful, patient, and knowledgeable. Just a great guy.  Damn, I hate this.

      • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by DAVID DICKSON.
    • #7808
      Bill Fordyce
      • Total Posts: 33

      Good Man, Good Heart, sad news.

    • #7809
      • Total Posts: 23

      So sad.  We lost a great friend.  Thoughts and prayers to his family.

    • #7810
      • Total Posts: 11

      Very sad
      Gary and I were close for many years
      Started boating on the St the same year, I will Miss Gary as many others in our kayaking family will.
      He was always up beat and happy to put others needs before his own.
      We traveled, kayaked, taught SWR and partied together.. Many memories of a terrific man and great friend

    • #7811
      Kathleen Pszonka
      • Total Posts: 113

      I’ve known Gary for quite a few years now since meeting on the Spring River as a newlywed with Sandy. Gary was always so helpful and patient with new boaters and eager to rescue them.  I provided a lot of practice for Gary and he always had a smile on.  He loved to fish ,  but boating was his passion. I and the whole boating community will miss Gary.

    • #7812
      • Total Posts: 170

      Very, very sad. I’m gonna miss that great big smile he was always wearing.

    • #7813
      • Total Posts: 679

      Gary was about the most positive guy I know, always with a smile on his face.  I will miss him greatly, as will we all.  I don’t know who is going to pick up & carry that positive attitude that he had!

      • #7814
        • Total Posts: 22

        The river will not be the same without Gary’s giggle–he will be so missed!

    • #7815
      Rich Gran
      • Total Posts: 11

      Shocking and unbelievably sad news.  Gary’s was the first smile that welcomed me to the MWA in 2014.  His pleasant nature made me feel welcomed like I knew him for many years.  The only SWR student without whitewater experience, Gary let me ride shotgun on his Cat on my first run down the saint.  Needless to say, if you knew Gary you have positive whitewater or fishing memories of him.  Let’s lend our brother’s family support and keep Gary, Sandy, and their entire family in our prayers through this rough time.

    • #7816
      Sheldon Dale
      • Total Posts: 51

      I hate to hear this. Gary was a great guy.


      Cooper at SWRT This is Gary volunteering as the “victim” at Jim Coffey’s Swiftwater Rescue Training at the Saint in 2014.  If I remember correctly, he wasn’t even signed up for the course.  He just ran into us on the river, tagged along, and put himself to good use!


      Coop at NOC Gary Cooper at Nantahala Falls, Sept 2014


      • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by Sheldon Dale.
      • #7824
        Rich Gran
        • Total Posts: 11

        Yup, that’s the course. Gary’s just one solid Dude.

    • #7818
      Dean Zeisset
      • Total Posts: 27

      This is tragic.  Gary was always there to help.  Especially an open boater like myself because then he’d get to make fun of you. It won’t be the same without him.  I’m so thankful I was fortunate enough to know him and call him my friend.  And I’m glad my kids got to know him.  They sure loved the Cat rides in high water.  I will never forget that permagrin and laugh.

    • #7823
      • Total Posts: 230

      Oh no… Gary was there on my first trip down the Upper. I think I swam twice that day, but what I remember most was when my paddle got lodged in between two rocks and Gary paddled up stream just to get it out. The man looked like a gladiator. Sad news.

      • #7825
        • Total Posts: 418

        Mine too 🙁 first trip to the upper I met coop through Sheldon dale and matt bliss, spent all last year learning from him. especially in my free ride he laughed alot at me haha but hes a great guy for the little time I got to spend with him. RIP good buddy thanks for everything!

        • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by jacobsviper.
    • #7827
      Pam Huddleston
      • Total Posts: 6

      When I heard this news, like all of you I was in shock and disbelief, my heart just broke for  Sandy and his family.  Gary was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, he would do anything for anyone.  I will never forget his always happy personality, his big smile, laugh and most of all his friendship, the Saint just won’t be the same without him.  Sending love, thoughts and prayers to Sandy and the family.

    • #7829
      • Total Posts: 69

      I was shocked when I heard this yesterday.  I first met Gary when I shared a campsite with him, his new wife Sandy, and Lee Harmon and Brandon G. several years ago at the Nantahala.  I have paddled with him many times.  He was always a bright light, safe mind, and fun time on the river and off.  I will miss him.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Sandy and his family.


      • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by WillPaddle.
      • This reply was modified 7 years, 4 months ago by WillPaddle.
    • #7832
      Steve Stilwell
      • Total Posts: 87

      I echo the other comments. In addition to paddling, Gary a I had bass fishing in common. We always tasked about it and each time he would say “call me when your ready to go.” I never got around to calling. A sad reminder that we need to slow down and take time to enjoy the relationships we have been blessed with. I pray for comfort and peace for Sandy and family.

    • #7833
      Eric Roush
      • Total Posts: 28

      I can still hear his deep voice in the back of my thoughts and see that smile of his. This is a heart breaker, so sad…

    • #7834
      • Total Posts: 24

      Shocked, wish we had more time with Gary, He was always good to talk to and run rivers with. It’s always hard to lose one of us, rest in peace.

    • #7835
      • Total Posts: 34

      We’ve lost a class act in Gary. Always with a smile, always willing to help others and always a pleasure to boat with. He will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Viewing 20 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Shopping Cart