Willo Nona Cooper, 95, passed away peacefully in Marshall, Tuesday morning January 2, 2018 at Best Care West. She was born April 29, 1922 in Hastings, MI, one of three daughters to Gertrude (Waters) and Frederick S. Jones.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 72 years, Joseph R. Cooper, of Marshall; daughters, Martha (Bill) McFall, of Duck Lake, Albion, Carolyn Hughes of Marshall, Rebecca (Cory) Templeman of Crozet, VA, and Pamela Jo Cooper of Traverse City, MI. Her legacy includes nine grandchildren and seventeen greatgrandchildren. She was predeceased by her elder sister, Irene Hamilton, of Kalamazoo, and is survived by a younger sister, Beverly Bogner, of Charlotte.
Willo attended college and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University. During this era of her life, she met "Joe" at the wedding of a mutual friend. Very soon she found herself enjoying the game of baseball. She was Joe's biggest fan at WMU, and while he was on the road in the minor leagues. They were married June 10, 1945, while Joe was serving in the U.S. Army Air Force at Tampa Bay, FL. Willo had taught in the Ionia and Galesburg school systems prior to moving to Marshall.
After the war, Joe was offered a teaching/coaching job, and Willo didn't hesitate to put down roots and make Marshall her home. During Joe's 35-years of service to the Marshall Public Schools, the Coopers were inseparable at athletic events and fundraisers. When Joe retired in 1983, Willo was ‘behind the scenes,' helping him grow the American Amateur Baseball Congress, and his second career.
Willo will always be remembered for her congeniality. She was encouraging and kind, and a generous volunteer. She chaperoned field trips or served as a room mother at Shearman School. She enjoyed her role as a substitute teacher. As a homemaker, mother, grandmother, and neighbor, her household was a revolving door, always open to extended family and friends whom she made to feel welcome. Raising four daughters was her primary focus, and she loved to cook and try new recipes. She was a fun hostess for ‘after game get-togethers' with the other coaches and their wives. She loved to give parties for special occasions and entertain for holidays. She treasured the times spent time with her sisters, nieces, and nephews at her parents' summer cottage at Wall Lake, in Delton, MI.
Willo was a member of the Marshall United Methodist Church. She was active in her sorority the Western Club, the American Association of University Women, and the Marshall Extension Club. She tended the perennial flowers that adorned her backyard swimming pool, the scene of summer fun with her girls' friends. She rarely missed a chance to travel with Joe, and she was a lifelong supporter of Marshall High School sports. She played bridge and learned the games of golf and tennis when her nest became empty.
For the care Willo received from countless, committed caregivers, her family would like to thank the staff of Best Care West, Dr. Jose Valle, Hospice and Oaklawn Hospital.
The family will receive friends on Friday, January 12, 2018 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Kempf Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Marshall Chapel, 723 Old US Highway 27 North, Marshall, MI. A memorial service to celebrate the gift of her life will be held 11 AM Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the funeral home with the family receiving friends one hour prior to the service.
Friends who wish may make memorial contributions to the United Methodist Women's activity fund. Assistance with memorials is available at the funeral home.
To leave a personal message and sign the online guest book, please visit www.kempffuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Willo N. Cooper, please visit our floral store.