Wilfred Joseph Koop, 63, passed away peacefully, on April 16, 2013 in Wilson, North Carolina. His health had declined over the past few years, with anemia and kidney failure contributing to his death.
In his last few weeks, he was surrounded by his family who sang and prayed with him until his final breath. His family expresses their deepest gratitude to the caring staff at Longleaf Neuro-Medical Treatment Center and Wilson Medical Center. Their kindness and compassion gave Wilfred and his family great comfort.
Wilfred J. Koop, the eldest son of John and Elsie Koop, was born on June 26, 1949 in Rangoon, Burma. Wilfred began his education at St. Paul’s in Rangoon. The Koop family emigrated first to Switzerland and soon after to Raleigh, NC in 1960. He attended Cathedral School, Daniels, and Broughton. Wilfred became a U.S. citizen in 1965.
Wilfred also lived in Ottawa, Canada for five years between 1966-1971. During this time, he attended Ottawa Technical Secondary School. In 1971, he returned with his family to Raleigh, and earned his adult high school diploma from Broughton High School. He then attended Wake Technical Institute.
Despite challenging bouts with mental illness throughout his life, he was able to live with his parents until the age of 57 and assisted them in their later years. He was a member at Wake County Spectrum House throughout the 1980s and 1990s where he made many lifelong friends. He was proud of his years of service on the mobile work crew. At Spectrum House he especially enjoyed the dances and performing with Sonny and the band.
Known simply as “Koop” he was born to entertain. You would know if Koop was in the room even before you saw him. He will be remembered for his song, wit, and timing. He knew, and would perform, the song catalogue of the 1960’s. His favorites were Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.
He is preceded in death by his parents in 2009, and brother and sister, John and Mary, who died as infants in Burma. He is survived by his beloved sisters and brothers and their spouses: Rachel Joseph and Larry, Elizabeth Parker and Quentin, Helen Vozzo and Steven, Thomas Koop, Paul Koop and Debbie, Arthur Koop and Celeste, George Koop and Mary, and in-laws Richard Greer and Beverly Hash Koop. He is also survived by many loving relatives in Australia and Burma.
He called himself the richest uncle because he had the most nieces and nephews - Jennifer Greer, Maria Vozzo, Angela Koop, Eric Vozzo, Katy Koop, Patrick Greer, Nicholas Parker, Sarah Koop, Lauren Koop, Walter John Vozzo, Michelle Koop, William Koop, and James John Koop.
Wilfred’s family extends their heartfelt appreciation to all the dedicated people who took care of him over the years at Dorothea Dix Hospital, UNC Neuroscience Hospital, Wake County Mental Health Services, Central Regional Hospital and most recently Longleaf in Wilson.
Visitation will be at Brown-Wynne, 300 St. Mary’s Street in Raleigh on Friday April 19th from 5:30 to 8 PM.
A funeral mass will be held at 9:30 AM on Saturday April 20th at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 200 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, and then friends are invited to gather for a celebration of Wilfred’s life at the old family home.
Condolences may be sent to www.brownwynne .com.