X-Message-Number: 23124
From: "michaelprice" <>
References: <>
Subject: Ev Cooper
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 13:37:16 -0000

Ron Havelock asks:
> Query: whatever happened to Ev Cooper?

Lost at sea in 1982/3

> Who was he

The first cryo-activist, who coined the immortal
"freeze, wait, reanimate" slogan.

In 1962 Ev Cooper published
"Immortality:  Physically, Scientifically, Now".

He also wrote something entitled "Jump for Jesus"!!

Here's his obituary from Alcor's Cryonics March 1983
                                  EV COOPER

                         It's not far back to sanity
                          At least it's not for me
                      And if the wind is right you can
                                  sail away
                              And find serenity
                         The canvas can do miracles
                            Just you wait and see
                                 Believe me

                       "Sailing" by Christopher Cross

    Ev Cooper is a man virtually never mentioned in newspaper and magazine
articles or books about cryonics.  His name is one which many of our
readers may never have heard or remember only vaguely.  When one thinks of
the man who originated cryonics, Robert Ettinger is the man most likely to
come to mind.  Yet there was another man and another book and he made a
contribution every bit as great as Ettinger's and perhaps in his quiet,
unassuming way he may have made a more significant one.
    Time moves quickly and life is short;  we cryonicists know that all too
well already.  History, for all its complexity and splendor, has an ear
mostly for the loud, the scheming, or the violent.  Ev Cooper was none of
those things, so it is not surprising that his name is not at the tip of
every tongue.  Now, with his passing, I will try to redress the
inadequacies of of "history" and tell you a story of a man, a dream, and
perhaps a defeat.
    In 1962 Ev Cooper completed work on his manuscript "Immortality:
Physically, Scientifically, Now" and privately published it.  The book is a
modest, almost apologetic one;  the ideas it contains are the stuff of
genius and the fabric of change.  Ev, as well as Ettinger, had realized
that men need not be born only to die and that if they were frozen at or
near the time of death they might yet have a chance to live again, whole
and complete, forever.  Shortly before the publication of Ettinger's "The
Prospect of Immortality" Ev did something for which he deserves our eternal
gratitude:  he decided not to wait for anyone else to come present him with
immortality on a silver platter and he founded the Life Extension Society
(LES).  LES with its network of coordinators was the first cryonics
organization in the world.  Ev saw, as Ettinger did not, that action would
have to be taken by those few who could see clearly that this was the right
thing to do.  In contrast to Ettinger's optimism and apparent belief that
cryonics would "catch on" and quickly transform the world Ev correctly
foresaw the resistance cryonics would encounter and the paucity of
adherents it would attract in its infancy.

    "The inertia of mankind is something of which to stand in genuine awe.
More realistically a small handful of that estimated 2 billion will first
learn of the opportunity, second, will care enough for their own future to
prepare themselves, third, will have the resources to provide for their
cooling and preservation, or will be allowed to rest in suspension by the
laws of their governments.  The archaic conditioning of the educations, and
the wishes of the institutions to which they have pledged allegiance will
provide further stops . . . .  Let us hope new discoveries and better
education change this projection but as it stands now a guess would be that
humanity isn't going to be allowed to

turn to this method overnight.  You can rest in peace however, the
challenge will be met or certain men and machines won't rest until
eventually death has been thrown to the mat and pinned."

    Unlike other early cryonicist Ev was extremely concerned about the
relationship between commercialism and cryonics.  Apparently he felt that
commercial ventures were not viable operations for cryonics at this time
both because of the microscopic nature of the "market" and the potential
for fraud and abuse which he saw the profit motive as encouraging.  He
apparently maintained these convictions up to the end of his life and was
reportedly very saddened over the scandal resulting from the collapse of
Cryonics Interment and the loss of patients being care for there.
    But despite this vision, or perhaps because of it Ev walked away from
the cryonics and life extension movement in 1969.  Ev had always been an
extremely private person;  virtually no one I spoke with in preparing this
piece was able to give me any significant amount of background or
biographical information.  Bill Albaugh, one of Ev's longtime friends and
associates from the Life Extension Society days told me that we will
probably never know the personal side of Ev Cooper;  in May of last year Ev
retrieved his personal papers and correspondence and "deep sixed" them.  He
was getting he said, and with his lifestyle of sailing, frequently alone,
he wanted to be sure those papers were destroyed.  Ev's former wife,
Mildred, says he turned away from cryonics because of overload, burn-out,
and a general sense that it was not going to be a viable option in his
lifetime.  Others that I have talked to confirmed this statement and
elaborated to say that Ev felt cryonics was not a viable option for himself
for practical (political, social, economic) reasons and that he was not
going to spend the time he had left trying to obtain the impossible.
Additionally, political struggles with the then emerging cryonics societies
in general and with Ettinger in particular provided the final incentive for
him to walk away from the idea and his years of efforts with the Life
Extension Society.
    By all accounts, the decade following his departure from cryonics was a
good one for Ev Cooper.  In the course of preparing this piece I talked
with half a dozen people who had know Ev over the past 10 years.  Everyone

who spoke of him did so in the warmest and most exuberant terms.  Two of
his friends from nantucket described him as follows:

    "Ev Cooper may not have kept interest in expanding the length of human
life, but in the last fifteen years he certainly added to the quality of
it, both his own and those lucky enough to have known him.  He was
absolutely free -- he made a science of self-sufficiency -- and was well
liked wherever he went.  I know this sounds suspiciously like I'm
eulogizing, but it's true:  Ev was quite happy and thoroughly good humored
about everything, even negative things.  Ev was never bitter, never spoke
of the past, and remained 100% cheerful and optimistic, completely content
with his existence, never frustrated."

    Ev's optimism may have been a factor in his disappearance and presumed
death.  Ev had spent the summer of 1982 in Nantucket helping his friends
finish construction of their sailboat.  On October 19th, while they were
putting the newly completed sailboat through its paces, a sudden gale blew
through Nantucket harbor, with ninety-knot winds out of the Northeast.  A
large charter motor-sailer dragged her Bruce anchor and smashed into Ev's
boat, the PELICAN.  PELICAN was apparently rather seriously damaged by the
accident;  and the insurance company for the commercial vessel which caused
the damage was refusing to pay off, calling the storm and the damage "an
act of God."
    Ev's friends urged him to remain in Nantucket for the winter and stay

them while he completed repairs to PELICANS.  Unfortunately, Ev was anxious
to return to Beaufort, S.C., as an unusually severe winter was predicted
for the Northeast.  So, Ev made makeshift repairs and left Nantucket on
Dec. 17.  A few days later his friends received a Christmas card from Ev
saying that he was unable to find a sailing companion at Martha's Vineyard
and so he was sailing alone.  He failed to arrive at Beaufort on schedule
and so, in mid-November his friends had a Coast Guard search performed.
There was and has been no word from Ev.  He failed to change his forwarding
address for mail, and no friends heard from him, or Coast Guard or other
vessels sighted him since shortly after he left Martha's Vineyard on or
about Dec. 21st.  There is a small chance that Ev and the PELICAN may be
alive, but disabled, floating somewhere in the Atlantic.  There is a
smaller chance that Ev set off for Europe or out to sea for an extended
trip.  This latter speculation is dismissed by those who knew Ev most
recently and well;  they say he was much too concerned about the condition
of his damaged PELICAN to risk such a journey.
    It seems likely that somewhere out alone on the sea, as he live his
life, Ev Cooper met his end.  It was an event to which he had apparently
resigned himself and made his peace.  Yet one cannot help hoping that he
might be out there on the water sailing, oblivious to the world that could
not hear his message and for the time being at least chose to embrace death
death rather than life.  Perhaps it is not too outrageous to hope that we
may see Ev Cooper put into port again someday as he himself said at the end
of his book:

    "but if our course has been as devious, and as lengthy, and as delayed
at times as Odysseus' might we feel that in some small sense we have
tracked the ocean of immortality and death and returned to the veiled and
rocky native shores?  Or have we dealt in the land where Don Quixote dwelt
trying to reestablish a value that is forever lost?  And is our return, or
will it be, like his?  Either is more than reward enough.  But let us

assume that it is more like the veiled, dusty, rocky shore of Ithaca upon
which we are awakening.  We have had a long, exciting and good journey into
unknown regions.  We may be temporarily weakened.  We know not for sure
exactly upon which coast we stand but we know we have a kingdom before us.
We will gather our strength and our wits about us and proceed.  For we'll
go out of this world, if we must, with neither a bang nor a whimper but a

    We hope Ev Cooper puts into port someday soon. . . .

                            THE FIRST CRYONICIST
                                by Saul Kent

    The cryonics movement did not begin with the publication of "The
Prospect of Immortality" by Robert Ettinger in 1964.  At the time there was
already a cryonics organization in being, although the word "cryonics" had
not yet been invented.  That organization -- The Life Extension Society
(LES) -- was started by Ev Cooper -- a tall, softspoken man who also wrote
the first book on cryonics:  "Immortality, Physically, Scientifically,
Now," which was published privately.
    Ev's role in launching the cryonics movement deserves a longer and more
thoughtful piece than I have time for right now, but here are a few
recollections of the man and the early days of the movement.

    When I read The Prospect of Immortality" in June of 1964, I was
exhilarated to a degree I had never before experienced.  Instantly, I knew -
- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that the most profound and powerful idea in
history had been unleashed and that I would devote my life to it.  But it
wasn't until the following winter that I finally got around to writing a
letter to Ettinger to initiate my involvement in the movement.
    In that letter, I asked if there were any organizations working to
promote the idea.  He replied that there were two:  The Immortality Records
and Compilation Association (IRCA) in Panorama City, California headed by
Tom Tierney and The Life Extension Society in
Washington, D.C. headed by Ev Cooper.
    I wrote a brief note to both organizations and awaited their replies.
From IRCA I heard nothing.  Two years later, I was to experience hours of
intensive questioning from police and the FBI in Las Vegas when Curtis
Henderson and I tried to meet with Tierney, who had just been arrested for
counterfeiting and gun fraud.  When the police interrogator asked me if we
were involved in either of these schemes, I replied:  "No, officer, we only
freeze dead bodies."
    From Ev, on the other hand, I heard a great deal.  Several days later I
received a Special Delivery letter from him that was a bit overwhelming.
Not only did Ev welcome me into his organization with open arms, he
actually asked me if I wanted to represent LES in New York as a "Life
Extension Coordinator."  I wasn't quite ready for that yet and wondered
what kind of man would make such an offer so quickly.
    About a month later I met Ev Cooper and his wife Mildred for the first
time at Grand Central Station in New York.  Ev had just participated in a
seminar on the freezing idea at Pace Institute in Brooklyn.  Another
participant in the seminar was Dr. Benjamin Schloss, who had formed an
organization -- The Society for Anabiosis -- to raise money for cryonics
research.  Dr. Schloss soon shifted his attention to aging research.  He
died from cancer in the late 1970's, while trying to launch a crash program
to achieve immortality by 1989.  He was not frozen.
    One of the spectators at the seminar was Karl Werner, a Pratt student
who would soon (August 1965) join with Jim Sutton, Harry Costello, Curtis
Henderson, and myself to form the Cryonics Society of New York (CSNY);  the
first organization to compete with LES.  Karl was the one who thought up
the word "cryonics."  He dropped out of the movement in 1969 to join the
Church of Scientology.  Although he soon left Scientology, he never
rejoined cryonics.
    From the beginning I found Ev to be warm, friendly, gracious, and
generous.  We carried on an exciting and highly stimulating conversation in
his car as we drove out to a restaurant in Queens to meet (for the first
time) with Jim Sutton and Harry Costello, who were to join with me in
becoming coordinators for LES in New York.  Three months later, we would
resign from LES and six months after that would join with Curtis Henderson
and Karl Werner to form the Cryonics Society of New York.
    About 6 weeks later, Jim Sutton, Harry Costello, and I took a bus ride
to Washington, D.C. to meet with Ev and the other members of LES.  Once
again, Ev and Mildred greeted us with warmth and good cheer.  While Jim and
Harry stayed at a local motel, I had the good fortune to be invited to stay
with Ev and Mildred at their apartment -- the home base of the Life
Extension Society.
    That evening Ev and I discussed the idea of achieving immortality with
great excitement.  It was particularly thrilling for me to discuss the idea
with a man who had obviously given great thought to its implications.  Ev
was well read in philosophy, psychology, and literature.  He greatly
enjoyed discussing traditional ideas and then speculating about how they
might change as the prospect of immortality became more imminent.  LES, in
fact, had evolved from a discussion group led by Ev that examined the
greatest books of the 20th century.

Ev and I continued our discussions until well after midnight.
    The following day, Jim, Harry, and I were introduced by Ev to some of
the other members including Vice President John Prince, a tall (6'7") black
man who dressed in 3-piece suits;  Bill Albaugh, who was about to run for
Congress in Maryland on a "Freeze-Wait-Reanimate" program (the title of the
LES newsletter);  and Phil Carlson, who was intrigued with the concept of
personal identity and how it might change in the future.  In all, we met
about a dozen local members all of whom clearly looked up to Ev as their
    Later in the day, Ev showed me his small, but graceful sailboat, the
use of which occupied most of his leisure time.  Both Jim and Harry, who
were dressed in business suits, declined a ride in Ev's sailboat, but I
decided to chance it in my light jacket and desert boots.
    Ev took me out about half a mile from shore.  It was quite windy and I
was soon cold and wet and anxious to get back to dry land.  But Ev wasn't
about to take me back so quickly.  He was truly in his element at sea and
was determined to tell me all he could about the glories of sailing,
whether I wanted to know or not.
    Finally, after about 45 minutes of gliding through the waves, we
returned to shore.  That was the first and last time I ever saw Ev's
    The first major cryonics event I ever attended was the 2nd Annual LES
Conference held on January 1, 1966.
    The previous evening, Curtis Henderson and I drove down to attend a New
Year's Eve party at Ev's apartment.  It was extraordinarily warm (70
degrees by the time we reached D.C.) and we were delayed.
    We arrived at Ev's place at about 11:50 PM.  At the stroke of midnight,
Ev announced that the party was over.  "Time to go to sleep," he said.
"Got to get up real early for the conference tomorrow."
    And what a conference it was!  Ev had sent out press releases about a
frozen dog ("Belle") who would be displayed at the conference.  He also
made arrangements with Ed Hope of Cryo-Care Equipment Corporation to drive
that company's prototype "Cryo-Capsule" to D.C. from Phoenix in order to
exhibit the frozen dog.
    Hope arrived that night, but Ev had neglected to make arrangements for
a place to put the trailer with the capsule.  SO he had to leave it in a
"no-parking" zone next to the restaurant where the conference was to be
    The next morning, photos were taken of Belle in the capsule and then
the dog was put into a freezer.  The conference started bright and early,
with the streets of the city deserted (It was New Year's Day, you
    At noon we wandered out of the restaurant to find a small crowd
gathering around the capsule.  The police were questioning Ed Hope about
the strange machine in his van.  They had perplexed looks upon their faces
as they pondered the meaning of the "suspended animation" sing on the sign
of the van.
    Suddenly, several frantic-looking men and women carrying pickets
arrived on the scene with fire in their eyes.  They were members of the
Human Society and were outraged at the idea of freezing a dog for future
reanimation.  "We want to see that dog brought back to life right now!"
shouted a particularly enraged woman.
    Then the press arrived.  A camera crew from one of the local TV news
shows was the prime attraction.  One of D.C.'s most popular TV reporters
was asking for the person in charge of the festivities.  When Ev couldn't
be located (He was apparently in the Men's Room), Bob Ettinger consented to
an interview to explain what freezing people was all about.
    As the interview proceeded, the crowd grew larger, the Humane Society
protesters became more vocal, and the police moved in to break up the

    As soon as the TV interview was over, we returned to the restaurant to
resume the conference.  That night we watched the late news at Ev's place
with a sense of growing excitement.  It seemed as if the freezing idea was
about to take off and that LES would be in the forefront of the movement.
    That wasn't to be of course.  By then (Jan. 1, 1966), Ev had already
"lost control" of things in New York.  After several disagreements over
policy, we had broken loose from LES and formed the Cryonics Society of New
York (in August of 1965).
    Later in 1966, we began to publish "Cryonics Reports" and, in October
of that year, Curtis Henderson and I set forth on a trip around the country
that triggered some profound changes in the movement.  During that trip,
the Cryonics Society of Michigan was formed, with Ettinger as President;
the Cryonics Society of California was formed, with Bob Nelson as
President;  and we ordered a Cryo-Capsule from Ed Hope's company in Phoenix
(after spending two weeks there).  On Jan 12, 1967, James H. Bedford was
frozen by the Cryonics Society of California, which led to a great deal of
publicity about the idea and firmly placed the various Cryonics Societies
in the forefront of the movement.
    By the end of 1967 LES was almost moribund.  Its influence ended, for
all means and purposes, when Ev suddenly called off his annual LES
conference on very short notice.  We rapidly stepped in to fill the void by
organizing the First Annual Cryonics Conference at the New York Academy of
Sciences on March 28, 1968.
    Ev Cooper never attended that meeting or any subsequent meeting.  He
quietly dropped out of the movement and went off to a simpler life at sea.


Michael C Price

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