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Obit: Thomas Joshua Cooper

Thomas Joshua Cooper, 65, of Alexandria, a captain in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and an import/export lawyer with Venable LLP, died Feb. 27, 2009 of cancer at Montgomery Hospice Casey House in Rockville.

Mr. Cooper was the son of the late Rear Admiral Joshua W. and Rena McIntosh Cooper of Alexandria, and was educated in numerous places in the United States and Europe, graduating from the Dreux American High School in France. He returned to the Washington area in 1962 to attend The George Washington University, receiving his A.B. in International Affairs in 1966.

In 1967, Mr. Cooper was commissioned in the Air Force and served at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., as the Logistics Plans Officer for the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was promoted to Captain in 1970 and completed four years of active service in 1971.

He returned to The George Washington University and earned his A.M. in International Affairs that year, followed by Tulane Law School, from which he received a J.D. in 1974.

Mr. Cooper returned to Washington and joined the staff of Congressman Louis C. Wyman (R-New Hampshire) as Legislative Assistant. In 1975 he became the Minority Counsel to the Committee on House Administration where he assisted in the preparation of a major amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, worked on the resolution of contested elections by the House and participated in deliberations involving the scandal of Congressman Wayne Hays. From 1977 to 1979 he was the Executive Assistant to a member of the Federal Election Commission where he participated in all aspects of implementing the Federal Election Campaign Act. In 1979 he was selected by Congressman Matthew J. Rinaldo (R-New Jersey) to be his Administrative Assistant.

In 1982 Mr. Cooper moved to the Department of Commerce where he served for four years, first as Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement and then as Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.

Upon leaving government service in 1986, Mr. Cooper joined Weadon, Dibble and Rehm, a small law firm dealing in trade restrictions. That firm was absorbed by the firm now known as Venable LLP. Mr. Cooper earned promotion to partner and continued to expand his client base with principal focus on import/export issues until shortly before his death.

Mr. Cooper will be buried with full military honors with his parents at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis.

Survivors include his uncle Philip C. Cooper, his sister Sara Cooper Masterson of Alexandria, nephews Dr. Thomas M. Masterson of McLean and John Cooper Masterson of Alexandria, and companion of 15 years, Emily E. Sommers of Washington.