BELLAIRE — Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop was a man who put his friends, co-workers and community first.
His colleagues remember the professional committed to justice. His friends, like James Janisse, a sergeant in the Antrim County sheriff's department, remember the advice and support though important life decisions.
"He was greatly, greatly committed to the victims of crime," said David Leyton, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. "He was bright, funny and he was just a joy to be around. He was very popular among the elected prosecutors across the state. We all gravitated toward Charlie."
Koop, 63, died Tuesday in his Williamsburg home. Antrim County Undersheriff Dean Pratt said the cause of death is believed to be "health-related."
News of Koop's death saddened friends and colleagues across Michigan. Lansing resident Teresa Gribi met Koop in 1995 during "terrible circumstances" -- her father and stepmother were murdered in their Kewadin home -- and she remembers his commitment to bringing the killer, Jack Bolton, to justice.
"He was very understanding right from the beginning," she said. "He had a very good sense of humor, but (he) also was very tough. He was very nice, down to earth and cared about people."
Bolton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Koop served as president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan in 2007 and 2008. Leyton said Koop remained actively involved as a board member and was active on email forums that provided legal advice sprinkled with "laugh out loud" wit.
"He had a great sense of humor," said Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney. "That's one of the things that really endeared him to a lot of people. He was also just a great prosecutor, a good litigator and was very sharp. I think that's why so many people did seek out his advice."