Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Merv Cooper, rest in peace

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Fellow Kite Fliers around the planet,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Dr. Mervin L. Cooper, longtime treasurer/event organizer of the Toronto Kite Fliers and prominent kite aficionado worldwide, passed away on Friday, December 24th from a severe cardiac arrest. Merv is survived by his loving wife Rovena and his son David.

Merv had collapsed while swimming at his nearby recreation center and could not be revived by health professionals. As with religious custom, his funeral and memorial was held on Monday morning. Unfortunately due to the holidays and friends being out of town, there was no representation from the kiting community at this event.

Merv was a very close personal friend whom I shared many experiences with and I, as many of you who know him, am particularly disheartened by his sudden and unexpected passing. Merv had recently retired from a lengthy practice as a Toronto dentist and had been participating in many more kiting activities, particularly those in the Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) interest. Merv will be known as a cornerstone for many of the events he attended because of his extensive and whimsical kite collection, including his recent acquisitions of show kites. He was an avid Rokkaku competitor and personal benefactor to Lam Hoac, multiple champion kite competitor.

There will certainly be an empty space in the sky with his loss and an empty space in my heart, for he was a kiting pioneer and unsuspecting advocate for the hobby and the sport, not only in Ontario, but also throughout the world where his kites have flown.

The Toronto Kite Fliers are in the planning stages for an appropriate memorial in the near future, in remembrance to a great kite flier and friend. If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Mervin L. Cooper Memorial Fund c/o The Benjamin Foundation (416-780-0324).

You are also encouraged to pay tribute to Merv by posting your messages, stories and remembrances here on the Merv Cooper memorial website. His wife and son look forward to reading about any stories and personal reflections from anyone in the international kiting community.

Respectfully,

Gary Mark
Toronto Kite Fliers
www.tkf.toronto.on.ca

33 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

My memories of Merv Cooper are far too numerous to recollect just one. I can only think of Merv being the first to arrive at any event and the last one to take his kites down. Though sometimes we cursed that his 'line laundry' interfered with our flying space, we accorded him all the courtesy deserved for being the first and most tenacious flier on the field. I have trouble imaging how events will be without him. He was always quick to help others out. He was patient with new fliers. He always thought generously in his everyday dealings.

He will be sorely missed by all but we are thankful for having known him.

December 30, 2004 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger Rick Longhurst said...

Thank you Dr. Merv
Dr. Merv, you were one of the first people I met when I attended Canal Days for the first time. You rare sense of humor and your knowledge og this great sport was almost overwhelming. Your physical absence at events will be devestating, but knowing that you will still be guiding us through you memories and your love of life will uplifting. Thank you Dr. Merv

December 30, 2004 at 2:23 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

This is a very sad day. Merv Cooper was great person and a dedicated kite flyer and collector.

Merv was a past member of the GLKS and he tried to attend a couple stateside events each year. He will be most remembered for his audacious bidding at the GLKS annual auctions. Merv would stop at nothing when he made up his mind that a particular kite belonged in his collection. Sometimes he bid just to get a bidding war going. He would goad bidders into going higher and higher and then drop out. At other times when he was not bidding, he would egg other bidders on. All in all he created a lot of fun and will be sorely missed.

He was at most every Canadian event that I have attended since getting into kites in 1995. Not only was he at every event, he was usually involved in some aspect of putting the event on. He did not need to be asked because he always stepped up with some contribution. He was a one man band when it came to putting his collection on display at the annual spring Four Winds Kite Festival at the Kortright Centre for Conservation just north of Toronto. He was much of the power behind the Chili Party held at the end of the year. In between, he was the guy that approached you by saying something like "You...you could hold this for me". The next thing you knew you were flying his kite while he was putting up another one.

I for one will be looking for him every time I go onto the flying field. Merv...I hope that you are looking down on us from high above the kites flying over our heads.

Good bye Old Friend,
Ted Shaw

December 30, 2004 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger Michael Graves said...

I am honoured to have been able to call Merv a friend these past twenty years. His dedication to his family, friends and to kiteflying is legendary. He enriched the lives of everyone with whom he crossed lines.

We would like to extended our deepest sympathies to Rowena and David. You are in our prayers.

Michael Graves & Estella Espinosa
Houston Texas

December 30, 2004 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Mike in NYC said...

My wife, Cathy and I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with Merv in Wildwood a couple of years back. Gary and Michelle were kind enough to invite us to join the Toronto gang when we were in search of seating at the banquet.

After introductions, Merv and I chatted about many aspects of kites and kite flying. Merv and the rest of the gang made us feel very welcome at their table.

His passion for kites was obvious and it was great to meet him. I only wish we had met again, out on the field, doing what we both loved.

Cathy and I send our condolences to Merv's family and friends and to all in the kiting community.

Michael Nevins

December 30, 2004 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Michael Graves said...

Back in the early 90's when I lived in Toronto I ran a part time business selling my own kites and supplies to the local kite community. Having easy access to a seemingly endless supply of bits, including spectra line, made me relatively lazy.

One day someone trampled a set of light specta lines into a tangled mess. Frustrated, I was about to ball it all up and toss it away. Merv stepped in, took the ball of string and put it in his kite bag. About a week later he presented me with a cleanly wrapped set of stunkt kite lines. He had untangled them one evening while watching television.

Merv was like that...he had a way of untangling things.

Michael Graves

December 30, 2004 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Dennis Ische said...

Even though I only knew Merv for a few short years he has made a huge impact.

Wether it was lending a helping hand, answering a "how do I do this?" qestion, Getting us all lined up for a Rok battle at Kitefest. Making sure we all had something to drink at Ajax, Watching him chat to spectators along the sidelines at Canal Days he was always a presence at every event.

My lasting memory of Merv is at the last Canal Days after the Rok battle he came over and put his arm around me and was just quiet. A great acknowledgement of a win. It was wonderful.

I will really miss Merv and his infectious enthusiasm. The best thing is we will always be looking up to our kites as Merv smiles down on us from above.

Dennis and Arlene Ische and family
Renegade Strings Kite Club
Mannheim, Ontario

December 30, 2004 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger info said...

Merv was always around when we needed him; at the festivals, the fun flys. Driven and passionate about everything. He will sadly be missed. It will never be the same, but now when we fly our kites his spirit will always be with us in a very special way.

Jing Qu & Grant Fitz
Toronto

December 30, 2004 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Dru Nelissen said...

Donna and I are with heavy hearts with the saddening news of Merv passing, and it was unfortunate we, and others missed his memorial and funeral.

We feel very fortunate to have known Merv; a very generous man with a very positive attitude, and person you could be proud to be called "a great friend" for many years. He touched many, and inspired others with his unending helping hand, especially those members of Toronto Kite Fliers Club. He leaves us with his legacy, but he would want us to carry on, as he would if he was still here. Yes there will be a big boot to fill, but he will be watching from above, giving us those clues, we need to carry on, if we listen hard enough.

We express our sympathy and condolences to Merv's family, especially his wife Rovena and his son David.

Dru

December 30, 2004 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger michael raycraft said...

Merv, you were a great influence on kiting. I *may* even have beaten you in a rok battle. Although I don’t think so.
You will be missed...
Let’s all who can, put a kite up for him.

Michael Raycraft

December 30, 2004 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sanders said...

My sincerest condolences to Merv's wife and son, and the Canadian kite flying community. Merv was especially generous with his time and friendship when I met him at the Toronto festival a few years ago. I was impressed with his quiet enthusiasm, his seemingly endless patience, and his natural kindness. I am honoured to have known him for the short time I did.
Merv, rest in peace and may you fly with your angels

December 30, 2004 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Don Brownridge said...

Merv .. I know your up there somewhere reading all this with your usual laugh and probably replying with a “come on we’re late, lets go” or a “ don’t worry, I’ll take care of it” response…you were always taking care of things….

One of my favourites was “Don, I have another repair for you, just a little tear”, usually with that old TKF club rok after returning from one of the many festivals Merv would attend.

Merv, we have been friends for so long, that I had to go back to my early photo albums to figure when you first came into the TKF club scene.

At that time we were still flying at Humber Bay on the Lake Ontario shoreline, so it had to be around 1990 to 1991.

We had lost our club treasurer at the time and had just reorganized the club into its present form. Merv jumped in with both feet and great enthusiasium taking the treasurers spot and never looked back.

I remember your wife, Rovena warning me that we should not expect you to stay around long, as you would get bored quickly with the kite hobby and want to move on to other things….. that was 15 years ago and you never lost interest in kites.… if you tired of one kind of kite, you would put that down and discover another part of the hobby not ventured into before…

Most of Mervs years were spent collecting interesting show pieces and he would always have a large visible presence at any kite festival, whether is was through one of his many arch kites, line laundry shows, taking some photos with his KAP rig, flying a miniature napkin kite, fighter kite, dropping teddy bears, indoor display of his kites, setting up for the hobby show or battling with one of his roks.

He single handedly guided the club into many mini kite workshops, producing 1000’s of napkin kites for events.

Together, we worked side by side on each of the Kortright, Ajax Fun Fly and “Kitefest” committees over the past 10 years. We bounced ideas off each other, contacted invited guests, created that main event feature kite design, or historical fact needed by the promoters. Hours spent doing airport runs for international kite guests, or press conferences.
I know these events may never be the same with out you Merv.

Merv always attended the AKA convention each year expanding his kite knowledge and best of all, his new found friendships, entering every event he could. Lam can contest to those successes.

Merv was really the current “TKF club President” with out admitting it, “I’ll do anything you want, but don’t call me President” he would say..

Merv.. you were a great friend.. a confidant…a teacher …an organizer… a team player...a right hand man… a ray of hope and stability.. Every time I fly my kites, ….I will think of you often along with all those others you have touched in your years with us…

Good winds my friend
Don Brownridge
TKF Past President
Stouffville Ontario Canada

December 30, 2004 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger skye morrison said...

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Merv and the 'minis'
dear kite friends and Merv's family,
I am writing my first email having just arrived in India for a four month working trip and I cannot believe that I will not have Merv to send news of the Ahmedabad kite festival and my attempts to keep up with him in the record for making miniature kites! It is of those 'minis' that I most vividly remember Merv. I invited Charlie Sotich to the Ontario Science Center kite festival in 1987 and Merv was there, in the front row, soaking up all Charlie had to offer. And that offer plus a promise carried on. Charlie shares his knowledge with everyone and he only asks that you make the minis for the good of kite flying rather than personal profit. It was Merv's tireless making of minis that supported the club through many years. Those of you who were at this year's 10th anniversary international Toronto kitefest will be especially touched by his beautiful minis from the kite stamps. He just kept on giving.
And, I'm proud that he wore my vest from the 1994 Ahmedabad kite festival whenever he was at a TKF event.
The TKF, the world wide kite community and many who never met him will feel emptier from the loss of one of the quiet giants.
Dearest Rowena and David, I hope that we can see each other when I return in May. In the meantime I will make several hundred miniature kites here in India and pass them forward in his memory.
with love of the sky
and good winds to all
Skye Morrison
Delhi, India

December 30, 2004 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Don Brownridge said...

..from Ludovico Bertozzi & Jayne Edwards, Italy
Ciao Merv,
We only knew you for a short time, two kite fests, but we cherish some fond memories of you. Unfortunately, we had very little time to fly together as you were always busy organising or taking care of the visiting flyers. You took such good care of us while we were there, you went out of your way to make sure that our stay was perfect. I was struck by your patience, your generosity and your passion for kites. I am lucky to be the proud owner of two of your mini kites. The last words you said to us were, "See you in Italy", well we'll be thinking of you as we look up into the sky and I'm sure you will be looking down on us with those smiling eyes.

...... vogliamo ricordare Merv come l’ultimo giorno della nostra visita in Canada, vicino alle cascate sotto un fantastico arcobaleno. Sono sicuro che Merv saprà insegnare a far volare gli aquiloni anche lassù…



Our deepest sympathy goes out Merv's wife and family.

Jayne and Ludovico
Cervia, December 2004.

December 31, 2004 at 6:22 AM  
Blogger Don Brownridge said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

December 31, 2004 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger Hiflier said...

Merv Cooper was a dedicated kiter - he truly loved kites and the magic they created when people flew them or watched them in flight.

I first met Merv at the TKF "Four Winds Kite Festival in 1992. He gave me a hearty handshake while holding a kite in the other hand at the same time.

Merv tirelessly supported kiting events and clubs around Southern Ontario and in Western New York state. He was very proud to be a member of the Toronto Kitefliers and wore his club shirts and flew his club Rok as a marker of his dedication to TKF.

I will always remember his presence at the Niagara Windriders Kitefliers' "Canal Days Kite Festivals". where he led a wonderful contingent of "TKF-ers" every year for ten years. He would put up loads of kites and line laundry. At the same time he managed to meet and greet virtually every flier on the field. When possible, he would move to the edge of the field and talk with spectators and answer questions and promote kite flying.

As with many of us, Merv encouraged me to attend workshops and get involved in some things I might otherwhise have only watched. I learned the techniques of skilful Rokkaku battling by being his "line man" at a couple of events in Wildwood and Ocean City, MD. His enthusiasm was infectious.

One time at an AKA Convention in Wildwood he looked at his watch as he talked with me and said, "Here, hold this - I have to be at a workshop on mini-kites" and he was gone. He took in every single aspect of kite events at a convention. I can still remember the pleasant time flying his kite for an hour until I hauled it in and went looking for him to return it.

The magic of mini-kites and their elegance intrigued Merv. He opened many of our eyes to the beauty and grace of the mini-fliers as another fine form of kiting.

We traded some techniques on teaching kites in the classroom once he retired and just last year he presented me with a "Gibson Girl" kite because he knew of my deep love of kite history. He was always generous and always involved.

I will forever hold many fine memories of Merv and his friendship through kiting. My deepest sympathy is extended to Rovena and David.

Sincerely, Bob White

December 31, 2004 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Dear kite-friends,

I have such fond memories of my outings with the club that Merv's sudden death is profoundly saddening. He seemed a multifaceted man, with new un-guessed bits glimpsed at each event. His obvious overwhelming interest, knowledge and enthusiasm for kiting was infectious and I'm picturing how he seemed to enjoy dispensing the door prizes as much as we enjoyed getting them.

And oh, the technology and technique of building the perfect paper napkin mini-kite! I have a custom-Merv-made 3-stack that I keep at the office for special occasions - the only stack I'll probably ever fly.

I am so sorry for his family's loss, but I believe Merv's spirit will live on in all the people he touched with his generosity and care. I know he'll be in my heart.

Good winds & fond memories,
Sharon Vogt

December 31, 2004 at 6:53 PM  
Blogger alain lalonde and michèle said...

Very dear Merv,

It's with a great sadness Alain and I both heard you're gone.

Although my english isn't very good, I wanted to tell you how I feel. If the words and sentences structures aren't good...I know you can understand anyway, beyond the words, like you always did when we met.

During more than ten years, I saw you twice a year (1 or 2 times more some years), first at Korthright, then at the Kitefest. Each time it was a pleasure meeting you again and that's one main reason why it was easy to drive the "6 long hours" from Montreal.
The "Rokkaku battles" were always fun, whenever you were a "fighter" or a judge. It was an "honor" to be attacked or pulled down by the TKF rok or by Mona-Lisa...even for my pink panther!

From what I saw all those times and like Don and the others said earlier, "you were always taking care of things". I want to add ..." without any complaint, quietly and efficiently". Everyone could count on you, no matter what.

Considering all that, I understand a little bit more why you had to leave so soon. They certainly need someone to "take care of things" up there in the sky...and you're the best!

As for us, we have to say goodbye to you and thank you for all those precious moments you shared with us.

It was a privilege to know you
We will miss you very much

Goodbye Merv
Big hugs from here in Quebec.
XXXOOO

Michèle and Alain Lalonde

We want also to express our sympathy to your wife, your son and all the memers of your family.

January 2, 2005 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger the gang from OSEK Cleveland said...

Hi
The first Rok battle I was ever in, my son Matt and I
fought on Merv's team at Dayton.(USAF Kite Festival) I was in many a good
Rokkaku battle with him over the years. Dayton, Port
Colboune, and Cleveland. He will be missed. At Port
Colboune this year was the last time I we battled
Rokkakus and I work real hard and downong his Rok. The
sky will be just a bit empty without his kite there.
Jim Gibson CUYAHOGA FALLS Ohio '-(

January 2, 2005 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger the gang from OSEK Cleveland said...

I first meet Merv Cooper at the USAF Museum Kite Festival at Dayton years ago now. The Rok battles are where we had most of our “contact” as you might say. In the early years, just about every time he would want to battle we would go and get people out of the crowd to fill out his team. We were always going after the samurai team captioned by Richard Myers. The good times we had lasted till the next festival. The last time I got to see him was at the 2003 Convention at Dayton where I was trying to get a full size phone booth box kite off the ground and he was yelling for me to hold it while he got photos. He was a good friend who would have help you even if you were going to be fighting in the next Rok battle with him. I am going to miss you Merv.
Harry Gregory
OSEK President
Cleveland, Ohio

January 2, 2005 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger the gang from OSEK Cleveland said...

At the 2001 convention in Billings, MT., Merv and I were admiring some of the raffle items that had been donated by the city merchants, one of which was an area rug. Merv said he liked it but would not be able to take it home on the plane if he won it. I laughingly said, "If you win it, Merv, Frank and I will take it back as far as Cleveland for you." Later that evening, when the ticket was drawn for the rug, Merv jumped up and searched the crowd for me and then laughed as he went to claim his rug. It was a year later, at the 2002 convention in Ocean City, MD. when we finally were able to present him with his winning rug. It became a joke with us: me telling him NOT to win anything BIG, and he pointing out the LARGEST items and saying he hopes he wins them.
Rest in Peace, Merv.

Betty Terepka
OSEK Cleveland,Ohio

January 3, 2005 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Vaino said...

It was a shock to hear of Merv’s untimely passing. I think most of the previous comments have really hit Merv’s passion for kites and kite friends. I don’t really remember meeting Merv, he was just always there.

Whenever I went to a festival or even a special fly in the area, he was always there. He flew his kites, displayed his line laundry, took aerial pictures and had time to greet everyone.

Merv enlisted me and we fought as “Team Mona” in Rokkaku battles at a number of AKA conventions and other festivals and we have placed in the top three. In 2004 in Seaside Oregon, Merv led us to a third place finish. He also placed second in the individual battle and has placed in the top three a few times.

Merv also entered and won or placed in various classes of miniature kite-making competitions at the last couple of AKA national competitions. He also entered in aerial photography events there.

The Niagara Windriders will miss him at the Canal Days Festival in Niagara and I personally will miss my Team Mona team-mate. My condolences and sympathy to Rovena and David, may he find a better place to fly.

January 3, 2005 at 10:01 PM  
Blogger Carlos Simoes said...

Merv was always a great supporter of any kite event. I will fondly remember many great conversations with Merv on and off the field. He loved to talk about kites and kite people but also loved to talk about any hot topic of the day. I will also never forget his great smile and gentle way with children. He could always make the kids laugh, big or small.

I already miss Merv's deep booming voice. It seemed like anytime he needed help he would be at the other end of the field. Merv would yell across the field asking others to help him take down or put up another another big kite or KAP rig. We would all have a good laugh and wander over to help Merv as best we could. Merv, we always tried our best to follow your very detailed launch instructions :-)

Merv always knew how important it was to keep the aerial display fresh for the crowd. He was well known for working and rotating as many of his kites as possible. Merv worked hard at all events from the moment he arrived. His drive always inspired me to try and fly a few more kites.

Merv Cooper my friend, you will be missed by all.
Carlos SImoes

January 4, 2005 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From David Gomberg, President of the American Kitefliers Association:

From: David Gomberg [David@GombergKites.com]
Date: Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:33:41 AM Canada/Eastern
Subject: Dr. Merv

I was startled this morning to read the news of Merv Cooper passing.

Merv was a friend, a confidant, and a respected rokkaku competitor. I will miss him a lot, but take some consolation from the observation that he flew with joy and enthusiasm, and that he gave as good as he got.

Our skies won't be the same without him.

David Gomberg
Neotsu, Oregon

January 5, 2005 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From: "Jerald Houk" [jehouk@ix.netcom.com]
Date: Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:27:48 AM Canada/Eastern

I can't tell you what a shock it was to me reading this. I will always remember Mervin as a warm friendly person and fellow kite enthusiast.
This will leave an empty space in my heart as well.

Sincerely,
Jerald E. Houk
Maplewood, Minnestoa, USA

January 5, 2005 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From Steve Ferrel:

Damn.

Merv was a great guy. He was a big help at many recent AKA Conventions. He always volunteered a hand in Kitemakers Competition's - showing up each morning and offering me help where ever needed.

I hate hearing this stuff...

Steve Ferrel
Kite Studio
Allentown, Pennsylvania

January 5, 2005 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From Harold Ames, Wings Over Washington Kite Club:

Merv was a good man and a kite nut (I mean that as a compliment)

He was a tough competetor on the Rokkaku battle field too.

I will miss him.

Harold Ames
King George, Virginia

January 5, 2005 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From Rob Pratt, Fort Worden Kitemakers Conference:

Merv was a first class person, I met him at Festivals and conventions all over the place and always enjoyed his company. He will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts are with his family

Rob Pratt
Olympia, Washington

January 5, 2005 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From Carl Bigras, Ottawa Valley Kite Club:

I’m sorry to see a friend leave us so soon.
Full of energy, places to see, projects to plan and dreams to fulfill.
Every time I raise a kite, I will think of you.
Every time I do KAP, I will feel your presence guiding my every move.
It was a pleasure flying with you, traveling with you and KAPing with you.
Our memories will last forever.

God bless,
Carl & Nicole
Ottawa, Ontario

January 5, 2005 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From Terry McPherson, Mid-Michigan String Stretchers (M2S2):

So sad to hear of the loss of Dr. Merv Cooper.
He will be missed.

Terry McPherson
Ionia, Michigan

January 5, 2005 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Michaela said...

So many memories in such a short time…I am so sad to say good-bye.

Anyone who knew Merv knew that he was passionate about kite flying and laboured tirelessly in an effort to share that passion with the world. He loved to display his collection at events, whether indoors or in the air. He would get a special gleam in his eye when a new showpiece was about to emerge from the bag to be flown for the first time.

As others have mentioned, he had a particular gift for event organization and coordination. You couldn’t miss the rush he got out of putting a successful event to bed when it was time to take the last kite out of the sky. He loved it when a plan came together. But, I think his favourite event of each season was the Over the Edge…where he could fly for the joy of flying, no plan, no schedule, just good winds and good friends.

The first TKF event my family attended was the 1997 Over the Edge. Gareth was just 15 months old and running around the field. Merv found a solution to the “problem” and handed Gareth a halo...I don’t even remember which kite from his collection was on the other end of the line. Gareth was transfixed. Merv couldn’t have been happier. Over the years Merv spent hours and hours letting my children “help” him fly his kites. They played together, they laughed together, Merv always asked them to sit with him when we went out for dinner after an event. Like any other mother…I can’t help but love someone who openly loves my children.

When Merv was contemplating his retirement he asked my advice about how to get started delivering kite making workshops for schools. I was all business and talked about how to set himself up in business and sell to the school boards and do kids parties. He set me with a disappointed gaze and explained that he was not interested in making money at this. He wanted to volunteer his time as a public service.

I had the good fortune to be sharing his KAP photos with visitors to the TKF booth at the hobby show this year. My favourite was one that was taken while flying his rig from aboard a boat. For those of you who have not seen it, this marvelous photo captured the KAPograher in the act, sort of a self-portrait. It is beautiful.

Kite events won’t be the same without him. His absence will be felt in so many ways by us all. Wherever you are Merv I hope you find only blue skies, good winds and watermelon to share with your friends.

To Rovena and David, our hearts and thoughts are with you.

Michaela and Harald Koch and Family

January 5, 2005 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger R C F F said...

Our Condolences go out to the family and friends of Merv. He will be missed greatly at all the events. His kind heart in helping out where ever he could. A nudge, a gesture and saying come on guys lets get those kites up in the air. As we fly this year and all the years to come we know that Merv will be there smiling upon us at all the festivals.

Kerry St Dennis
Royal City Fun Flyers
Guelph, Ontario

January 9, 2005 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

From the Reverend Charles Vickerson:

The poetic meditation of John Donne comes to mind with the passing of Merv Cooper my dear friend: "No man is an island", "For whom the bell tolls", "We are all books in God's library". Those are the words of John Donne and yes if God has a kite section, that must surely surpass the Library of Congress, then Merv will be a volume worth reading.

Open to any page and you find a real honest to goodness thoughtful person. He cared and he will be missed. His Volvo was the club's drinks and the meals on wheels SUV for all the homeless kiters flying those red hot fields of summer. There was never a supply problem. The kites flew on time. No wind, no problem. I recall at one festival we even carried the kites around like icons in a religious procession. He didn't want to disappoint the crowd and those kids wanted to see big kites. He was our showman, kite impresario, our operatic Giuseppe Verdi of the Canadian sky. The Doctor created his characters in the air from those international variety of kites that were his prize possession. He was a guy who knew how to share his wealth. You could see it in the wonder of a child looking upward. Rain or shine the show must go on. That's his message to me. Like the pop star Madonna, Merv had line laundry and knew how to flaunt it and fly it. Believe me as I traveled to the AKA I enjoyed VIP status just by being in his laundry entourage. It took half a day to get the laundry flying and half a day to get it down and pack it away. To be with Merv was to meet everyone. I mean everyone from around the world. As the "Rok Fighter" he was the "Big Unit" the winner the guy to beat the "Terminator" and it was an honor to hold his reel.

In this post tsunami age, we think about big waves and big losses,
numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Beyond out imagination.
Then the TV goes in for a close up. An orphan alone. A mom in shock.
The tsunami is personal. One on one. The little guy hurts. We can feel her loss.

The loss of Merv was like that my own private tsunami. My world
changed. In a stroke a great relationship was washed away. Things only we shared I can never recall with anyone else. Small waves can hit you big. Suffering a loss tends to make you a little selfish and introspective.
But I hope in time that my private tsunami will make me a more outgoing
and sympathetic person.

I feel I have a page in my mind, a valuable unique document that is to be added to the "BOOK OF MERV". We are still connected. John Donne had it right that no man is an island. I hope I influenced him because his positive friendship will forever affect me.

Rev. Charles Vickerson
Toronto, Ontario

January 9, 2005 at 8:14 PM  

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