This is Cooper Dean Stock.

An important part of honoring Cooper is remembering his larger-than-life personality. He found joy in everything, from nudity, chocolate in all its forms, sports trivia, making friends with strangers, and dancing any time, any place. His spark often left a long-lasting impression on others.  He had many friends in his short life, perhaps in part because of the early intervention he had. He had so many different therapists, so much love and attention. Cooper got along with every adult he knew. (But there was this one yoga teacher he did not like. His name was Fred.) He would jump into the arms of people, especially his sister Gianna’s friends. He cared deeply for those around him and always tried to emphasize the good in the world. Friendship was his trademark. He had no inhibitions.

 

A Message from Cooper's Mother

When my son Cooper Dean Stock was born on August 9, 2004, the first thing the MD said (after, “it’s a boy!”) was that he came out “sunny side up.” Most babies are born with their heads facing down, but his was up. During his short but meaningful life on earth, he truly embodied that sentiment.

 

Cooper loved to laugh. He found humor in almost everything. His teachers had only one problem with him; they could not get him to stop laughing or telling jokes. A friend of mine described him as “the life of the party, even when there was no party.” He was a true extrovert and wanted everyone to join in the fun with him.

 

He wanted to be a part of every conversation and was able to connect to just about anyone, young or old.  His curiosity was boundless. He had an incredible knowledge of sports trivia. People sometimes thought he was an adult in a kid’s body. Basketball was his favorite sport. At New York Knicks games, he would high five all of the people around him after a good play (and everyone was happy to do so).  

 

Music is a religion to our family. We spent a lot of time listening to great tunes at home and in our car. He loved The Beatles, The Allman Brothers, and Led Zeppelin, to name only a few. The first song that Cooper went truly crazy over was “Snow (Hey Oh)” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We must have listened to it one million times. We were fortunate to have gone to see them in concert. When I hear the music he loved, it is painful and beautiful at the same time. I feel the connection to him very strongly.

 

Cooper was truly a good soul. He cared so deeply about people, both friends and strangers. He knew how fortunate he was and he shared his kindness and compassion in so many ways. Among his friends, Cooper was known as the group’s peacemaker. I did not learn this until after he passed away, but I was not surprised because I know how much he wanted things to be good in this world.

 

As time has moved forward, so has his legacy. It has morphed into what I have coined, ‘The Wide World of Cooper Stock.’  There is something limitless about his life, as it seems to keep growing.  In Guinea, Africa, plans are underway to build a school in Cooper’s name in the village of Thiewa, Beyla, which will transform education for the children as well as delivering running water. Hundreds of NYC kids (many of them homeless) have had the chance to go to Coop’s Hoops Basketball Camp and learn from the best. The formation of Families for Safe Streets has given voice to the traffic violence epidemic in our country. Countless lives have been saved through education and advocacy.

 

Meanwhile, by the Mediterranean Sea, in the village of Aci Castello, Sicily sits a bench placed in Cooper’s memory. The setting is magnificent, surrounded with greenery and overlooking the breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. Cooper’s dad and I were fortunate enough to travel to see it in 2019.  It was there that I gathered my courage and was able listen to the RHCP again. 

The Zephyr Song is featured on this homepage. The lyrics “Fly away on my zephyr / I feel it more than ever / And in this perfect weather / We’ll find a place together” seem fitting. It is my Cooper, my Little Wing, in the form of a song, beautiful and everlasting.

 

Thank you so much for visiting and for your support of Cooper’s legacy.  

 

Get in touch with me here.

The bench that honors Cooper and the view of the Mediterranean Sea behind it. Aci Castello, Italy. Read more about the bench below:

In the town of Aci Castello, Sicily, a bench honoring Cooper sits overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Karen La Rosa, whose son and daughter-in-law teach at Cooper’s school, heard about what happened and was inspired to create the bench all on her own. Her company, La RosaWorks, runs authentic tours of Sicily inspired by her heritage and had the bench built on a friend’s property.

Bench2.png

The plaque in the middle reads “Sit here and rest together, under the warmth of the sun, looking at the sea, with the assurance of life all around you. For Cooper, Gianna, Dana and Richard.” Aci Castello, Sicily.

The inscription:

Sit here and rest together, 

 

under the warmth of the sun,

 

looking at the sea, 

 

with the assurance of life all around you. 

 

For Cooper, Gianna, Dana & Richard

 

Written Word

Two Old Souls

by Nina Lerner

In remembrance of my beautiful cousin, Cooper

      I was 9 when Cooper was born. My brother Ben and I were the oldest of our generation so we were very excited when our cousin Gianna, and then Cooper, finally arrived. I was only 5 when Gianna was born so was too young to take care of her, but at 9 I was very much in my babysitting phase and could dote on baby Coop to my heart’s content. As he grew, it became clear he was a fellow old soul — he loved everything from classic rock to alternative and could recall more music trivia than anyone I knew. We both liked baseball and basketball, from the adrenaline to the statistics, while our respective siblings were known to be incredibly bored during sporting events. He was always so inquisitive, wanting to know how things worked and why. 

 

I remember a trip we took as a family to the Dominican Republic in early 2010. Cooper did not stop asking questions the entire trip, from “Why are there beds on the beach?” to “How old are you?” every morning (just in case I had aged drastically overnight). My most visceral memory from the trip was one afternoon where everyone else had activities to do and I was entrusted with watching Cooper. We found a pool with many circular tile benches sticking up out of the water and swam out to one. I sat criss-crossed on top and Coop plopped himself in my lap and leaned back on my chest. We sat out there for a while and people-watched. I could only see the top of his head but could feel his laughter reverberating. I remember not knowing an answer to one of his questions and taking a while to think about it, and by the time I replied, he appeared to have drifted off to sleep. I leaned over and said something like, “Cooper? Are you asleep?” and he just kept his eyes closed, said “no,” and smiled.

3 Bed, 2.5 Bath

We feel his presence in the rooms

In rays of warmth that sneak through drapes.

And as it cools, he’s wind that whips

like echoes of old sunken ships 

I pause at corners as I traipse—

is it not just his, but all our tombs?

 

His nook is a shrine, toute de suite

I can see his legs there, crossed on the floor.

The worst is when his life appears 

his half-laid plans and all his fears,

his cup in the fridge, his shoes by the door—

I hear his laughter in slow retreat.

 

We cannot stay here. That’s a fact we hate

because this damn apartment took so long

to renovate into a home. Today,

the walls, they weep with us. We say—

we know—we cannot stay. So though it’s wrong, 

we’re selling it. We cannot take the weight.

~ Nina Lerner

Can You Hear Me?

I would give up all if then

I could see you once again. 

If only you could live to ten.

If only you could join the men.

 

My heart breaks more every day

wishing that I could replay

 

each time that I shared with you

and every sound you would pursue

and every thing that you would do

and every cry after a “boo”

and every “bless” after “achoo”

and every sight you’d see that’s new,

 

and every noise you will not hear

and every time you can’t be near.

 

With every pang I feel inside,

I want to take you for a ride

on a trip where we would go

to a place where I could show

you that the world is truly good

not bad, but misunderstood,

and you would you say something so wise,

reason in your big green eyes.

 

You are forever from my reach --

I now use you only to teach

the people here to love their own.

Your seeds were planted, never sewn.

Cooper’s Comet

by Erik Kolbell

Erik Kolbell is a friend of the family who is an ordained minister, author, and practicing psychotherapist.

We stand beneath a moonless night sky, 

not particularly attentive to its stillness.

Not particularly attentive to anything, 

when suddenly a streak of light dashes overhead.

White hot 

Illuminating 

Inspiring

Fleeting.

It disappears, it seems, as quickly as it came. 

The object, we are told, is bigger than a grain of sand;

yet the trail of light that is its wake

stretches almost endlessly.

How can something so small, and so brief,

be so dazzling such that long after the darkness has returned, we still found ourselves, eyes cast to the

Looking, 

and remembering.

This is its magic. 

And this is where we now stand,

taking full measure of both the gratitude

of having lived with that moment,

and the pain that we live with because he is gone. 

And this, too, is why it is so important that

in dwelling between these two extremes,

we do so not alone, 

but together.

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No Lo Se

by Robert Leichman

Rob Leichman is Rich's friend from childhood.

I heard each cloud weighs a million pounds,

that's a lot to be floating

If one of those falls to the ground,

two by two we'll be boating

No lo see, no lo see 

 

I heard that wisdom only comes in time,

my watch must just be broken 

My second hand stopped on a dime,

now half these hours are unspoken 

No lo see, no lo see, no lo say to me,

say it again and again

Stay with me, stay right here,

I'll be your best friend 

 

I heard words come from someone else's tongue,

hard to hear but I'm able

And for every rhyme that goes unsung,

for every song on the table

No lo see, no lo see, no lo say to me,

say it again and again

Stay with me, stay right here,

I'll be your best friend 

 

You speak my name in a photograph,

pull me in the frame, share a laugh 

Such a magical game, to picture you,

I picture you, I picture you

 

I heard that time is always ripe to change,

Auld Lang Syne in September

I heard it's time for a sweet refrain,

and all good things we remember

No lo see, no lo see, no lo say to me,

say it again and again 

Stay with me, stay right here,

I'll be your best friend 

© 2020 by COOPER STOCK'S WAY

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