Michael William Cooper, a former Navy sailor who served President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, died Monday. He was 71 years old.

Shortly after graduating from Bay Shore High School in 1960 as athlete of the year, Cooper joined the Navy and served for three years. Cooper was part of the 13-day October missile crisis team on the USS Sturdy, an Aggressive-class minesweeper, as a radio corresponder.

"Every one of his good friends can recite Michael's adventure word for word. He repeated it so many times!" his wife, Sandra Cooper, said Friday, noting her husband's passion for adventure at sea.

Cooper died Sept. 1 in Center Moriches peacefully in his sleep after complications from pneumonia.

Cooper's passion for the sea lasted long after his time at the Navy. Post Navy, Cooper worked for Aeronautical Radio (ARINC) in Bohemia as a radio operator, supervisor and a shop steward for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for 40 years.

Cooper also proudly served as commodore for the Moriches Yacht Club. He enjoyed bringing his family to the club, and looked for every opportunity to gather for a picnic or barbeque.

"Michael enjoyed boating at the Great South Bay and anything and everything that had to do with either," said Cooper.

Michael and Sandra Cooper married in 1983 and blended her three children with his own two children from a previous marriage. They resided in Center Moriches for the past 29 years.

"My husband Michael was the most honorable person I have ever known," said Cooper. "When we married he welcomed into his family my three children without hesitation and was a devoted father to all of his children."

The funeral took place last Thursday at Sinnickson's Funeral Home in Center Moriches with the burial following in Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by their children, Michael, Kelly, Chris, Scott and Shari, his brother, Paul Cooper, and sisters Susan Cooper, Nancy Cardello, and Barbara McGovern and 11 grandchildren.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Newsday analyzes Biden's speech . . . LI's red-hot housing numbers . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Newsday analyzes Biden's speech . . . LI's red-hot housing numbers . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Latest Videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME ONLINE