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In Memoriam of Joe Cooper


We were deeply saddened to hear the news recently that Josef Cooper, one of the founders and principal benefactors of Children’s Day School, passed away on November 25 after a brief illness. Joe was the husband of Trustee Emeritus Tracy Kirkham. Joe and Tracy are the parents of three CDS alumni: Gillian, Class of 2007, and Greer and Sydney, both Class of 2012.

Joe and Tracy were the leaders of a group of parents, trustees, and educators who founded Children’s Day School as a non-profit to nourish and celebrate diversity and promote justice and respect for all people. Their connection to the school began more than twenty years ago in the fall of 1994, when both Joe and Tracy walked Gillian into what was then the Mouse classroom in preschool. Joe and Tracy’s commitment to CDS would continue for more than two decades. Most recently, both were guests at the first Friday assembly of this school year, and a short time later they attended the Welcome Potluck and ribbon-cutting for the ‘Elevating St. Joseph’s Hall’ project. 

Joe often preferred to remain in the background, and he was so pleased that the beautiful space we call Founders' Hall in 601 Dolores was named in honor of Tracy and all founders – past, present, and future. For so many years, Joe and Tracy have been loyal supporters of the school, and all of us here would like to offer our condolences to Tracy and the entire family. Children's Day School would not be what it is today without the profound leadership, vision, and generosity of Joe Cooper. The entire community wishes to express our gratitude for Joe's support and for the mark he left at CDS. We have established a Joe Cooper Memorial Fund to continue the spirit of Joe's generosity to the school, and you can provide a gift in Joe's honor on our Donations page.

Joe's obituary can be viewed here: Josef Deen Cooper

For any additional questions, please contact our Advancement Director, Jeanna Yoo, at jeannay@cds-sf.org or (415) 416-6323.