Whether it’s a trucker who flawlessly executes a backing maneuver, or a runner whose legs effortlessly eat up the miles, watching those who are extremely good at what they do is pure joy. These people possess a God-given talent that can’t be learned, only discovered and honed through years of hard work and dedication.
Such was the gift of Tim Cooper, Overdrive’s art director for more than 15 years. During his tenure with Overdrive, Tim won numerous awards for his work, including recognition by Folio magazine and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. As art director, Tim was an editor’s dream, a rare breed who read each article to make sure his layout and photo choices really did tell the story.
In November 2003, Tim, a nonsmoker, was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. He bore the news that his condition was inoperable and incurable stoically and with a fighting spirit that belied his gentle nature. “Giving up is the thing that all but guarantees failure,” he wrote in his journal. “Not giving up does not guarantee success but makes it possible and puts that first crack in the wall of inevitability.”
Tim bravely fought the inevitable nature of his cancer, facing his mortal enemy with an inspiring courage. “I truly understand why Lou Gehrig considered himself the luckiest man on earth,” he wrote in the intro to the online diary he used to keep family and friends updated on his progress. Like Gehrig, Tim knew he had much to live for – most of all his wife, Margaret, and their 11-year-old son, Martin.
Throughout months of experimental treatments at the renowned M.D. Anderson cancer facility in Houston, Tim never lost his sense of humor, describing himself in his journal as a former hypochondriac. “I say former because now I really AM sick! Ha, ha,” he wrote. And, when he deemed it appropriate, Tim would play what he called “the cancer card,” which came in handy, he liked to joke, for stopping pushy salespeople in their tracks.
Although he worked quietly behind the scenes, Tim’s life touched many. “I am one of the millions who read Overdrive magazine over the last 15 years,” a reader anonymously wrote upon Tim’s death on Jan. 28, 2005. “From all of us I would like to say: ‘Thank you for your work, Tim Cooper. You had a wonderful way of making your magazine come alive.'”
And on behalf of all of us here at Overdrive: Godspeed, Tim. We were blessed to know you.