Papa Joe’s clock tolls for Everett CC students

The 18-foot street clock says Citizens Security National Bank on all four sides.

You can bank on the time, but not at the clock.

It’s located at Everett Community College.

What’s up with that?

It’s not a hijack-a-clock college prank gone wild. It’s the work of Joe Cooper, a 1946 EvCC graduate and longtime campus booster.

“He was our idea man,” said EvCC annual giving coordinator Sharon Johnson. “We actually have a Joe Cooper file of all these awesome ideas he wanted us to do. One was to build a replica of the clock that was in front of his dad’s bank building that originally stood on Colby in downtown Everett.”

A plaque at the base of the campus replica shows the bank clock in its heyday as a landmark, decades before digital displays ran those analog faces with big and little hands out of town.

The clock was installed at EvCC in 2006 between Rainier Hall and Olympus Hall. It just happens to be outside the president’s office window, should he get the hankering to watch the clock.

It’s more than a four-faced timepiece. The clock is wired to play many songs, including “Deck the Halls” “Wedding March” and “America the Beautiful.” Instead of blasting songs on the hour, it chimes. After all, there are classrooms and offices nearby.

Cooper footed the $35,000 bill for the tricked-out clock. Based on his EvCC grades, it might be shocking he’d have that kind of dough.

In the Joe Cooper file is a copy of his report card from when he was a student here.

Sorry, no peeking. Something about privacy issues.

OK, so how about a hint?

As Johnson put it: “He wasn’t very studious. He wasn’t a real classroom guy. He was a self-made man. He got his start here and was off and running.”

Cooper graduated from the University of Washington and was assistant controller of the Seattle World’s Fair. He got his MBA from California State University in 2004 at age 77.

He moved to California about 50 years ago but kept an interest in Everett, especially the community college. He established a music endowment in his first wife’s honor and spearheaded other EvCC projects.

“He wanted to inspire the other students,” Johnson said. “He was ‘Papa Joe.’ That was his email handle, ‘papajoe.’”

The bells tolled for Papa Joe last November. He died at age 88. A celebration of life service held Feb. 21 in California had a baseball tailgate-style buffet. As Joe always said, “Any excuse for a party.” That was on the program flyer.

It also had this Joe-ism: “You know, you can spend your whole life telling people what you could have done, or you can tell them what you did. It’s your choice.”

Remember that before you run out of time.

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