Loved ones mourn neighbor who died mowing lawn in Lehigh Acres

Published: August 26, 2021 6:02 PM EDT
Updated: August 26, 2021 8:02 PM EDT

A Southwest Florida community is mourning the loss of a man who was a devoted father and loving husband.

Wednesday, Jack Cooper drowned while mowing a lawn in Lehigh Acres. His mower went into a backyard canal, and it was on top of him when his body was found.

Cooper was known as a loving father and grandfather. He was also an active community member, serving as the chef at his church.

To his wife of more than 30 years, Linda Cooper, he was her best friend.

“He was wonderful,” Linda said. “I don’t know how to survive without him, but I will.”

Linda told us her husband woke up Wednesday morning, and like every morning, he gave her a smile as he headed off to work. She never imagined that would be the last time she’d see him walk out the door.

“Can’t believe you’re gone,” Linda said.

By 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Jack was at his neighbor’s house to mow their lawn. He did that for many of his neighbors and at his church. Three hours later, Lee County Sheriff’s Office received an urgent call for help.

Jack’s neighbor said he hadn’t heard the mower for a while, and when his stepson went outside to check, he found Jack dead under water and pinned beneath the lawnmower.

“He had a heart of gold,” Joellen Abroe said. “He’s going to be greatly missed, and I wish I could kick him in the head right now because I’m so upset over this.”

Those we spoke to say Jack’s kindness, contagious laugh and amazing cooking are among the many things that made him who he was that will be missed.

“He of all people, I mean, no one deserves that to happen, but not him,” Abroe said.