Benjamin Peter Gray Cooper of Medford Lakes, NJ passed away at the young age of 47 on August 25, 2020. Ben was born on October 24, 1972 in Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada (he loved telling people that) to Peter and Mary Jo (Gray) Cooper. At the age of 3, they moved to Toronto where Ben developed his passion and extensive knowledge for hockey.
In 1976, they move to Medford Lakes, NJ where he gained a sister Abby (Walter Anderson). Ben adored his sister but often told her that she was going to be picked up by the trash truck. Ben biked to the Nokomis and Neeta Schools every day; because that’s what you do when you grow up as a ‘Laker’ kid. He attended the Medford Lakes Camp and earned his Bronze Shield. Ben enjoyed fishing in the lakes with his local buddies. Ben often mentioned the childhood memories of going to his grandparents in Hershey and riding the tractor with his grandfather as well as running around the Hershey Arena with his uncle.
After graduating Shawnee High School in 1991 where he played football, club hockey, and 4 years of Varsity baseball, Ben attended Ohio University. The same college his uncle and cousin also attended. He spoke of fondly of his college friends, especially his time working at The Cat’s Eye Saloon. At this time Ben was afforded the opportunity to visit his family members in Celina, Ohio. Ben loved his time spent in Ohio during his college years.
After college, Ben moved back to Medford, bringing his beloved dog Arlo along with him. He LOVED that dog and all dogs! Ben started dating his hairstylist, Kristina (Reillo) in 2002. In the years they dated, they enjoyed taking Arlo into the woods of Carranza Road, where they were eventually engaged. They both shared a love for the Black Crowes, sports, nature, and living a simple life. On 3/4/05 Ben and Kristi were married in Key West Florida.
Wanting to raise their son with the same ‘Laker’ upbringing, they bought a house in Medford Lakes where many of Ben’s childhood friends returned to raise their families as well. On October 17, 2006 they joyfully welcomed Reid Thomas Benjamin into the world. Ben doted on watching Reid play hockey and baseball. It was Ben’s dream come true. Reid soon became his fishing partner at a very young age, as the 3 male Cooper generations frequently fished the local lakes and continued tradition.
Ben was an uncle to Jordan and Tyler Reillo as well as Gabrielle (Godfather) and Natalie Anderson.
He is survived by family members including his grandparents; numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins; Kristi’s family; and many loyal friends along his journey. His ‘girls’ Toba Boo and Haven will miss him dearly.
As Ben was an organ donor, his life will continue on in others.
There are no services scheduled at this time.