Eight Bells: Kirk Cooper
Published on December 6th, 2018
Edmund Kirkland “Kirk” Cooper, a champion sailor and three-times Olympian for Bermuda, died at 86 years on November 30, 2018.
Kirk founded the accounting firm Cooper and Lines in 1959 with his friend and business partner, David Lines. The company later became a member firm of Coopers & Lybrand, now PwC Bermuda, where he retired as a managing partner of PwC.
He served on a variety of boards and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1986 for his service to the island.
As well as sitting on the Civil Aviation Board and Airport Licensing Board in the 1960s and 1970s, Kirk was chairman at the Department of Tourism from 1983 to 1993. He served on the Bermuda Economic Council from 1984 to 1990 and the Bermuda International Business Association, where he was president from 1974 to 1975.
Kirk was a founding member as well as president of the Bermuda Yachting Association, and served as commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in 1972.
“He was a great guy who loved Bermuda — he was a man of endless energy,” remarked his widow, Helen. “There were a lot of young people that Kirk helped along the way and his many international clients also became good friends.
“His personality was just tireless and he was very competitive.”
He was a champion backstroke swimmer at school but his wife said he was drawn more to team sports. “Kirk preferred to be with crews and his crews all loved him. Kirk also liked sailing because it was technical.”
His sailing career included three trips to the Olympic Games — Tokyo 1964, where he came close to a bronze medal, Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972, where Kirk was the flag bearer for Bermuda at the opening ceremony.
Kirk was also a regular participant in the Newport to Bermuda race where he remarked after the 1994 race, “Each time we go out it’s a different challenge. You never stop learning. It must be like chess.”
One of his proudest moments was his selection as the first Bermudian juror for the America’s Cup in 1983 — when the challenger Australia II won the trophy. Kirk was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions to sailing in 2005.
He is survived by wife Helen, son Philip daughters Alexa, Dana and Helen, and nine grandchildren. The family will celebrate his life with a private family service at Hamilton’s Anglican Cathedral.