Described as a “gentle giant” and “very good, old style” editor by those who knew him in King’s Lynn, he also worked in Kettering, Peterborough, Sudbury and Wisbech during a career spanning six decades.
John, who had lived in the Norfolk village of West Winch until last spring, was taken ill shortly before Christmas and died in King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital last month.
John also served with the RAF during the Second World War after beginning his journalism career in Northamptonshire in 1937.
Paul Watson, who worked as his deputy for six years from 1978, said: “He was always very clear about what he wanted the Lynn News to be.
“He appointed the staff and let them get on with their jobs without being involved.
“John had confidence in his staff to do the detailed work and gave them his full support, while he looked after the big picture and made sure the targets were being met.”
John ran the News from 1972 until his retirement in 1984.
Former Lynn News publishing director David Dixon, described him as a “very good, old style editor and well regarded in the community”, while Mike Last, who also worked under him, added he was a “gentle giant and will be missed by all who knew him”.
His daughter Cathie Fiddling added: “He was so happy at the Lynn News and really enjoyed his time there. He enjoyed the fact that the Queen Mother would say ‘Hello, Mr Cooper, how are you’ and knew who he was.
“He was a great dad and grandad, very interested in family, Norfolk and wildlife. He loved his garden but he loved his work aswell.”