Ophthalmologist and former congressman John Cooksey dies at 80

John Cooksey, who had an ophthalmology practice in Monroe, Louisiana, served three terms in the US House of Representatives. He also founded an eye clinic in Kenya.

John Cooksey, an ophthalmologist who served three terms representing Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives, died earlier this week at the age of 80.

A Republican, Cooksey represented Louisiana’s 5th District from 1997 to 2003, according to the Associated Press. He was elected to Congress in 1996, his first try for public office, defeating Democratic state Rep. Francis Thompson of Delhi in a runoff for the seat. After serving 3 terms, he ran for the US. Senate, but lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

In a statement, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that flags will fly at half-staff on the day of Cooksey’s funeral, according to the Monroe News Star.

“He has helped and inspired countless young people and worked hard to improve life for others,” the governor said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. “He served his country and his community in every way he could, from the Air Force to Congress to his medical practice as an ophthalmologist.”

No cause of death was listed, and arrangements were pending, according to the Monroe News Star

Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, Cooksey’s medical practice was based in Monroe. The AP reported that he graduated from LaSalle High School and earned his medical degree in ophthalmology from Louisiana State University Health Service Center in New Orleans and earned an MBA from the University of Texas.

A veteran, Cooksey served in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Texas and Thailand, according to the AP, and he also conducted mission trips to East Africa and established an eye clinic in Kenya.

According to the AP, Cooksey served in the U.S. Air Force, where he was stationed in Texas and Thailand. He also volunteered in the mission field in East Africa, where he provided health care for six years and helped found an eye clinic in Kenya.