LOUISIANA, (KTVE/KARD)- Former Louisiana Congressman John Cooksey, who served in the U.S. Air Force, earned a master’s in business administration and treated thousands of patients as an eye surgeon, has died. He was 80.

Cooksey, a Republican, served as the 5th District Congressman with Monroe and Alexandria as the population hubs from 1997-2003. He limited himself to three terms in the House before making a run for the U.S. Senate, a race Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu won.

Cooksey, whose medical practice was based in Monroe, was born in Alexandria and graduated from LaSalle High School in Olla, where his father operated a sawmill, according to his biography. He earned his ophthalmology degree from LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans and earned his MBA from the University of Texas.

Cooksey also served in the United States Air Force, where he was stationed in Texas and Thailand. Cooksey also volunteered in the mission field in East Africa, where he provided healthcare for six years and helped found an eye clinic in Kenya.

His race for Congress in 1996 was his first run for public office.