John Cooper has lived at the same home in Baltimore, OH for over 40 years (Pickerington Local School District). Married, father of four graduates of Pickerington High School. Mr. Cooper retired after 32 years at the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) where he last served as the Branch Supervisor of a team of Customer Account Specialists who handle processing of customer requisitions on behalf of the Department of Defense for all Army and Navy foreign military customers and the United States Coast Guard. This office is the primary in-processing site for these foreign militaries in their authorized purchases from the entire United States military supply system.
Mr. Cooper began portraying President Abraham Lincoln more than 25 years ago, while his children were in elementary school in the Pickerington school system. A co-worker at DSCC constantly maintained that he reminded her of Abraham Lincoln due to his tall stature and Lincoln-styled beard. Having discovered an old Lincoln-styled coat in his mother's attic, he then acquired a stovepipe hat, and began presentations around President's Day in the elementary schools. Mr. Cooper is a self-avowed history nut, and considers Lincoln as his favorite President and our greatest President (even above George Washington). He has an extensive personal history library that includes over 100 books about Lincoln and his colleagues.
In the earliest days, presentations were mostly confined to Pickerington Schools and a few other close schools (maybe due to lack of the requisite wrinkles in his face). Having grown naturally into those wrinkles and after the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's presidency and the civil war, he has expanded his personal appearances to many adult performances, including the Violet Township (Pickerington) Bicentennial Celebration, the Ohio State Fair, numerous county fairs and festivals, political dinners, and schools all over Ohio. He enjoys the opportunity to meet with people of all ages (but children remain the favorite) and sharing stories about Lincoln and his life. He also preaches in churches as Lincoln on "Lincoln's Spiritual Journey." He has appeared in events in more than 10 states, including a comedy club in Brooklyn, NY, where he performed in a Lincoln skit on the show "Night Train with Wyatt Cenac."
He is available for community celebrations, historical societies, lunch and dinner speeches, conventions, fairs and festivals, schools, and home and birthday parties.
The toughest part of portraying a dead historical figure is trying to remain in character and time period, when many audience questions refer to subject matter that cannot be fully discussed without references to events and facts that were not known until after Lincoln's assassination.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
St. John 14:6