We Were The Best of Friends

In The Name of God, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful.  With a heavy heart I write this my friend...Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon...We belong to God and to Him we return. Now you are free and I will see your soul again my friend, but not yet...not yet until when God wills. I will come for your Ziarat (viewing) soon. God is Most Great! 

Jeremy Cooper 
Jeremy Van Cooper 1974 ~ 2010 Jeremy Van Cooper, passed away Sun day, October 31, 2010 at St. Marks Hospital. He was born August 20, 1974 in Rexburg, Idaho, son of Van J Cooper and Cindy Smith Knuth. He was the longest survivor of Truncus Arteriosus Type IV. He had a strong will and determination to live a full life regardless of his heart condition. He had a love for life that showed through the smiles and hugs that he gave freely. Jeremy graduated from Cottonwood High School in 1994. He later graduated with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. He owned and operated a company that managed IT systems for other companies. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a service mission in the Jordan River Temple and LDS Church Office Building. He married Shauna Leslie on March 20, 1998, and later divorced. Their children were the love of his life. He was a kind, patient, and fun loving daddy. Jeremy is survived by his children Kaylee, Patrick, and Landon; his mother Cindy Knuth (Jerry); father Van Cooper (Janice); brother and sisters Grace Echo, Katie Woolstenhulme (Wes), Heidi Jameson (Larry), Christy Stutsman (Robert), John Cooper (Erica), and Hollie Leslie (Nate); grandmother Wilma Smith. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sat. November 6th, 2010 at the LDS Church, 155 Coventry Lane, North Salt Lake, Utah, 84054. Friends and family may visit Friday, from 6-8 p.m. at Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary, 727 N. 400 E. and 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment Bountiful City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please make donations for a college fund for his children at Wells Fargo under their names. Condolences may be shared at www.lindquistmortuary.com

Published in Deseret News on November 3, 2010

The Best of Friends Since Highschool

Jeremy and I were the best of friends since highschool.  You could say we met by accident (or fate) during high school.  I used to be friends with a guy that had been dating his sister.  We used to have to stand around while they talked at the lockers.  Eventually the two of us would start talking to one another out of sheer boredom.  During our conversations, we started realizing that even though he was a Mormon and I a Muslim, we had a lot in common.  Being in a school with maybe a couple of other Muslims, finding people who would be accepting was not that easy.  Our conversations increased and we would hang out and eventually became like brothers.  He and his family are to me like my own family and that is why his passing has struck me with a heavy heart.  He had a strong soul, he was a fighter and was able to overcome previous obstacles to his health and his general life. He had a hard childhood and looked to Jesus and John Wayne for inspiration.   He used to love Louis L'amore western books and John Wayne and Elvis movies. We had conversations about life and faith all the time, which is interesting because I found that his faith increased my faith by having to study what I believe in.  We shared many adventures, trials, and tribulations...however we had always survived. 

Horseback Riding at The Bishop's Farm/Ranch

I remember when we used to go horseback riding at his bishop's ranch.  We used to go all the time and we had a lot of fun.  We had also gone horseback riding at other places, however this was the main place we used to go.  We used to play a lot of games such as hiding go seek on horseback, however one of these times we were playing in the snow and  I could not find Jeremy.  I had galloped down a hill and had to go under some branches...so I ducked my head to avoid the branches, then all of a sudden the ground shifted and the horses back came up hitting the saddle horn directly into my mouth/nose basically knocking me out almost.  The blood came spurting out on the white snow everywhere I looked and I fell forward on the horse.  After falling forward the horse felt there was something wrong and stopped.  After resting on the horse for about ten to twenty minutes I fell over on the ground with my face half buried in the snow and I was still bleeding.  The weather was cold and a snow was falling and turning into a blizzard.  I felt that I may just die out there on the field.  Then after a while I heard the faint calling of "Bob...Bob....Babaaaaaaak"...it was Jeremy searching for me.  He eventually found me by spotting my horse which I still had the reins in my hand.  He came up but I did not have the power to lift myself.  There was blood everywhere.  He lifted me up and slapped me a couple times so I would open my eyes, which I eventually did.  He kept saying "Bob, you are gonna be ok, your gonna make it!".  So, he pushed me back on my horse and tied my hands with the reins to the saddle horn and grabbed the mouth piece of the horse and kept pulling me back to the farm...occasionally having to grab the reins.  He was able to safely get me back to his home to get cleaned up.  Fortunately, I was not severely hurt and did not need hospital services.  We were able to stop the bleeding by lying down.  


I remember when Jeremy called me one day and said, "hey I am going to college, do you want to come with me?" and I said "yes"...so we both started college together and ended up both getting degrees in Information Technology.  Up until a week ago we had both been working in the IT field and I had just called him last week to get some advice.  As a follow up I called him on Monday and his brother answered the phone...at first I thought it was him just joking with me, but then I understood that he had passed away on Halloween (All Hallows Eve / All Saints Day).  

Utah & Idaho Snow Adventures

We had many snow adventures where we went snow shoeing, hiking, snow boarding, skiiing, and travelling during the winter months in Utah and Idaho. 

Snow Shoeing

I remember when we had gone snow shoeing together on one trip up little or big cottonwood canyon then a sudden blizzard had started with heavy winds.  We had made it up very far up the mountain and then I saw Jeremy fall in the snow and was buried until his waist.  I heard a faint yell in the wind for help and I turned around and saw him falling in.  At first I had thought it was a snowpack, but it was actually snow that had been sitting on the ice covering the creek.  He was knee deep in ice cold creek water...

He said "I don't think I can make it out...Bob get me out of here!".  So, I tried...but then both Jeremy and I quickly noticed that I could not just pull him out due to the ice breaking..."he yelled back at me to don't come closer!" so I backed off on the edge of the ice and held on to a tree., then he said "go back to the jeep and call for help".  The blizzard had picked up and the wind was probably around 40-50 miles an hour and the snow was coming down fast.  I knew it would take too long to get help and I yelled back at him "No...by God I will help you get out of this and you will make it back!...I won't let you freeze out here! 

I took off my backback and threw it towards him...he held on to the strap but could not pull himself out due to the depth of the ice/snow.  So then I got a log/stick and pushed it across the ice pit and had him hold on to it so he would not get dragged under the ice into the creek current.  Then again I threw my backpack and had him hold on to the strap.  Then I started to pull myself on the ground in order to get more leverage in order to pull him out...finally I was able to pull him out, but his legs from the knee down was ice cold and wet.  The blizzard was still coming and I had to think quickly, so I took off my jacket and threw it on him and told him to hang on...then I ran down the trail in the blizzard in deep snow that had fallen on top of the previous snow in seconds. I got a bunch of supplies from the jeep and headed back up to where I had left him with the jacket.  I gave him heat packs and blankets to warm him up then finally after his legs felt better I was able to lift him and have him start walking down again and we were both able to make it back home safely.  

Our Conversations

Over the course of our almost 20 year friendship, we had many conversations...I remember when I first met him he was dealing with very difficult family situations and we ended up having long conversations at night about life, faith, and the future.  It was interesting because we always pushed each other through our conversations to excellence and success.  Even until recently I had called him a week before for advice and went to follow up with him on Monday, which I had found out about his passing.  He was like a brother to me and his family are like my family.  Growing up as a Muslim in Utah during the last 20 or so years was not easy considering the emphasis on religion and if you are not part of the main community of faith, it is not easy to succeed or move forward in school or work.  However, Jeremy was always helping me with both school and work and defending me in front of those who would give summary judgements of me.  Instead of trying to convert me to his faith, he set the example by living his faith as much as he could.  Recently he had gotten into more spiritual teachings and poems by people such as the great Persian Mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi which shows how much effect we had on each other. 

There are so many memories that it will take some time to compile them here.  I hope that once God decides to take me to the other side, his soul shall remember mine.  In his honor I recite the poem by the poet Rumi called "Remember Me"...

"Remember Me"

by Jalaluddin Rumi

I will be with you in the grave on the night you leave behind your shop and your family.  When you hear my soft voice echoing in your tomb, you will realize that you were never hidden from my eyes.  I am the pure awareness within your heart, with you during joy and celebration, suffering and despair.

On that strange and fateful night you will hear a familar voice -- you'll be rescued from the fangs of snakes and the searing sting of scorpions. The euphoria of love will sweep over your grave; it will bring wine and friends, candles and food.

When the light of realization dawns, shouting and upheaval will rise up from the graves! The dust of ages will be stirred by the cities of ecstasy, by the banging of drums, by the clamor of revolt

Dead bodies will tear off their shrouds and stuff their ears in fright--What use are the senses and the ears before the blast of that Trumpet?

Look and you will see my form whether you are looking at yourself or toward that noise and confusion.

Don't be blurry-eyed, See me clearly-See my beauty without the old eyes of delusion.

Beware! Beware! Don't mistake me for this human form. The soul is not obscured by forms. Even if it were wrapped in a hundred folds of felt the rays of the soul's light would still shine through.

Beat the drum, Follow the minstrels of the city. It's a day of renewal when every young man walks boldly on the path of love.

Had everyone sought God Instead of crumbs and copper coins they would not be sitting on the edge of the moat in darkness and regret.

What kind of gossip-house have you opened in our city? Close your lips and shine on the world like loving sunlight.

Shine like the Sun of Tabriz rising in the East. Shine like the star of victory. Shine like the whole universe is yours!

translated from the Persian by Jonathan Star "Jalaluddin Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved" 


Here is one of my favorite prayers that I listen to in the day and night by the 4th Caliph and 1st Imam of Islam Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu Talib:

Excerpt: "My Master, O my Master, you are the Ever-Living, and I am the one who will die, and who can have mercy on the one who will die except the Living?"


David said…
Babak - I have ONE good fond memory of you and Jeremy, plus Brandon Mortensen as well. I remember that night that we all were up past midnight and around his neighborhood walking around, talking and just having a good time until the cops showed up thinking that we were out doing things that we weren't supposed to be doing. Luckily we got out of that situation.

Another time that I can remember, our camping trip out to Alta in that little car that I had. What a trip up there it was, just the 3 amigos hanging out and having fun.

Also, the days that we hung out were always fun filed with chatter about life, women, and life after HS.

Man, his death really struck a chord in me. Life is to short, live to the fullest. Carpe Diem, Seize the day, seize the moment. Make the best of it. Jeremy would always tell me, make the best of it and move forward.

I loved him as a brother in the 20 or so years that we've known each other since school.

Dave Gordon

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