Salisbury's First Public Works Director Dies at 102
Philip "Pete" Cooper (Photo: WBOC)
Philip "Pete" Cooper is shown in May 2010, when the city of Salisbury designated Eastern Shore Drive as "Pete Cooper Way." (Photo: City of Salisbury)
SALISBURY, Md.- Philip "Pete" Cooper, who served as the city of Salisbury's first public works director, died Monday night. He was 102.
Cooper, a graduate of the University of Maryland in 1931, served the city as public works director and city engineer from 1950-1978. While in that capacity, Cooper supervised a number of major projects including the discovery and drilling into the Paleochannel underground river off of Naylor Mill Road, which is where Salisbury gets much of its water supply.
Cooper was also responsible for many other projects including the 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank on Edgemore Avenue; the construction of many roads such as Riverside Drive, Eastern Shore Drive, Waverly Drive, Carroll Street; paving the entire Downtown Plaza with antique style bricks; and the River Walk project.
"Pete Cooper was a true friend and supporter of the city," said Salisbury City Administrator John Pick. "Even long after he retired, Pete would bring in conceptual drawings for projects that he thought we should undertake. He also very generously donated over 100 trees to help beautify Eastern Shore Drive. Pete left a lasting legacy that everyone in our community can enjoy. He will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him."
Mayor James Ireton Jr. said, "Mr. Cooper was a man greatly admired throughout this community. I knew Mr. Cooper as a man who loved his family, as a man who loved to travel, as a man who loved to learn, and as a man who loved Salisbury. His accomplishments as a Rotarian, as a Boy Scout, and as an engineer are unparalleled. The undergird of any community is its physical infrastructure and more than anyone in Salisbury's history Pete Cooper is responsible for our solid foundation. I encourage the community to travel along Eastern Shore Drive, named for Pete, and remember him always."
In May 2010, Ireton and the city dedicated Eastern Shore Drive in honor of Cooper, calling it "Pete Cooper Way."
Cooper's funeral will be held at Bethesda United Methodist Church on North Division Street in Salisbury at 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8. There will be a two-hour visitation prior to the service.
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