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April 6, 1928 – March 21, 2014

NIAGARA FALLS – Maurice D. Cooper Sr., a longtime funeral director who was a mentor to many younger funeral directors in the area, died Friday in Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Lewiston, following a lengthy illness. He was 85.

A native of Niagara Falls, Mr. Cooper lived in Wheatfield and was a lifelong resident of the Niagara Falls area.

Mr. Cooper was a 1946 graduate of the former LaSalle Junior-Senior High School and attended Niagara University before serving in the Army in Korea as a field artillery specialist. He worked in the family business, Rainbow Roller Rink in North Tonawanda, for many years.

Mr. Cooper was a graduate of Simmons Embalming School in Syracuse and was a professional funeral director for almost 60 years. He operated Cooper Funeral Home on Buffalo Avenue for more than 35 years before merging his business with the Lane family. During his career, he became a teacher and mentor to younger funeral directors, and after joining the Lane Funeral Home, continued to assist other funeral businesses in Western New York.

Mr. Cooper was recently recognized as a life member of the Erie-Niagara Funeral Directors Association.

He was active in many community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club and Boy Scouts, and was a devoted member of St. John de LaSalle Catholic Church and Prince of Peace Catholic Church, where he was a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society and a Catholic Charities volunteer.

Mr. Cooper is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Virginia Fitzgerald; three sons, Maurice Jr., Christopher and Curt; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. John de LaSalle Church, 8477 Buffalo Ave., with prayers at 9:30 in Lane Funeral Home Inc., 8622 Buffalo Ave.