The Queensland Rugby Union community is in mourning following the passing of former Queensland and Souths flyhalf and fullback, Richard ‘Ray’ Cooper, aged 87.
Born in Sydney in 1933, Ray’s family moved through regional NSW and eventually settled in Brisbane. Ray attended Brisbane Grammar School, where he was school captain and captain of the First XV in his senior year – 1951.
Not long after graduating from Grammar, Ray’s family moved to the Sunshine Coast where his father had purchased a cane farm at Yandina Creek, where both Ray and his brother worked.
During the 1950s, Ray would make the trek from Nambour down to Annerley to play for Souths, alongside fellow former Queensland great Alec Evans. One season he was the competition’s highest point scorer, notching a total of 200 plus points.
Ray’s form for Souths saw him selected for Queensland and he was then part of the first ever Wallabies squad to tour Fiji in 1954.
After his playing days, Ray’s family sold the farm at Yandina Creek and he continued to work in agriculture, working on properties near Goondiwindi and Chinchilla, before retiring to Tin Can Bay.
Having met his wife Shirley whilst still at school at Brisbane Grammar, the couple recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in December. Ray is survived by Shirley, as well as their three children Chris, Peter and Jilly.
Ray’s family and friends farewelled him in Nambour on Monday, January 11.