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Mary Ruth Thomas Cooper, 92, of 419 Blondell Avenue,
Appalachia, VA, died Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at her home.
She was born in Corbin, KY, on July 5, 1917, and has been
a lifelong resident of Appalachia. Mary Ruth worked as a
deputy for the Virginia Employment Commission from 1964
until her retirement in 1991.
She and her Mother owned and operated the Appalachia
Hardware Co. with her husband, Jack Ellis Cooper.
She was a long time member of the Appalachia Methodist
Church and also attended the First Presbyterian Church and
recently the Christian Life Church. She was a member of
the Eastern Star, DAR, Appalachia Garden Club, Appalachia
Women's Club, and was once named woman of the year.
In 1982, she received recognition for her outstanding
dedication and service to the Appalachia Rescue Squad. She
organized and participated in many fund raisers for the
Appalachia Rescuettes. She was an EMT instructor for many
years and even taught repelling. She was a Red Cross
volunteer and a member of the Lee County genealogical
She was an excellent seamstress. Mary Ruth designed many
costumes, majorette outfits, Homecoming crowns, and formal
attire for many family members and friends. For many years
she decorated cakes for weddings, birthdays, and special
occasions. Her many interests and hobbies included genealogy,
crochet, crafts, cooking, canning, baking, flowers, flower
arranging, and gardening.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Pat
(Doni Sewell) Thomas; her husband of 57 years, Jack Ellis
Cooper; granddaughter, Patricia Lee Cooper; and grandson,
Jack Lee Cooper.
She is survived by her six children who were the true joy
of her life, one daughter, Doni Ann Duckett of Danville,
IL; five sons, Dr. Jack Sewell Cooper (Debbie) of Miami,
FLA, Tom Lowrance Cooper (Carolyn) of Appalachia, VA, Ben
Ellis Cooper of Appalachia, VA, Sid Pat Cooper (Linda) of
Big Stone Gap, VA, and Joe Houston Cooper (Charlotte) of
Big Stone Gap, VA; seven grandchildren, Mike Ellis Cooper,
Mary Bernice Cooper Wilborn, Mark Sewell Cooper, LeAnn
Koerner Wanninger, Amy Jo Koerner Flemming, Gail Lynn
Cooper Harkleroad, and Dianna Ruth Cooper Bolinsky; sixteen
great grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.
The family acknowledges and expresses their special
gratitude to Aloma Hobbs, who not only was a very special
caretaker to Mary Ruth, but was also a very close friend
and companion to her. The family appreciated the kindness
and concern shown by the staff of Wellmont Lonesome Pine
Hospital especially April, Mae, and Denise. The family is
especially grateful to Dr. Michael Ford for the many years
of skilled medical care given to their mother.
The family will receive friends anytime at the residence.
Visitation will be held at the Roy A. Green Funeral Home,
Appalachia, VA, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, October 9,
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m., Saturday,
October 10, 2009, at the Appalachia United Methodist
Church with Rev. Michael Dalton officiating.
Burial will follow in the Glencoe Cemetery, Big Stone Gap,
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be
made to Mountain Empire Older Citizens Inc. at 1A industrial
park drive in Big Stone Gap, VA, or the charity of your
Roy A. Green Funeral Home, Appalachia, VA, is serving the
family of Mary Ruth Cooper.