By Dorie Cox
Longtime Lauderdale Propeller Service owner and president Drew Cooney died on Feb. 7 “after a very long three-year battle with cancer,” according to his sons. He was 65.
Lauderdale Propeller Service (LPS) has been in business in the Fort Lauderdale area since the 1940s. Mr. Cooney took over in 1985 when the shop was located near Derecktor. In 1994, he moved it to its current location on State Road 84. Mr. Cooney’s sons have assumed the business, Brandon Cooney as president and Chase Cooney as general manager.
They said their dad would probably like to be remembered as a hard worker.
“He was dedicated to making sure that everyone was OK,” Chase Cooney said. “He really helped so many employees.”
Mr. Cooney was also known for his kind heart and sharp sense of humor.
“He was good at smack-talking,” Chase said. “He was quick to point out what you were doing wrong, but to also let you know he loved you. I told my friends that if he wasn’t talking smack to you, he didn’t like you.”
Both sons played professional baseball; their dad was their coach when they were young, even though he himself played football as a punter and kicker in college in North Carolina. After their baseball careers – Brandon played seven years with the Baltimore Orioles; Chase played three years with the Chicago White Sox – both men started with the company in the service and parts department.
“When I joined, he threw me in at the counter and said, ‘Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can’,” Chase said. “When Brandon came, I said ‘good luck’.”
Capt. Karen Sue Newberry brought her first set of propellers in for repair in the late 1980s and continued working with Mr. Cooney in her career as a mate, purser and captain. She considers him one of biggest icons in the local marine industry.
“He really helped make my career in yachting,” Capt. Newberry said. “He stood out because he’s the type of person that, if you called from the Bahamas and needed something done, it was done today, not tomorrow. He made sure, whether we were on a charter or a trip, that we made that trip happen.”
A celebration of life and memorial party is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24, from 2:30-6 p.m. at Rendezvous Bar & Grill, 2525 Marina Bay Drive West (33312).