Mary CooperSeptember 2, 2017
Mary Emily Henry Cooper, the third child of Susan B. Landin Henry and Howard (Hash) Henry, was born on November 25, 1928 in Sandy Ground Community of Staten Island, NY.
Mary graduated from Tottenville High School in 1946 where she played the clarinet in the school band. She was born into a musically inclined family. Growing up, Mary along with her siblings learned to play a number of musical instruments: saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, piano and organ.
Mother Mary, as she was affectionately known, blessed the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church with her musical talent. She was back-up for her sister Lois Mosley, the organist at Rossville for over 60 years. In June 2008 she became the full-time organist and played along with Mrs. Yvonne Taylor the church pianist. Mary also, played the organ for the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Young Adult Choir under the direction on Mrs. Sara Lee.
Mary married Elmer (Bubbles) Cooper in April 1949. To this union four daughters were born: Linda (deceased), Elmira, Janice and Vickie.
Mary began working at Willowbrook State School in the early 1950’s as a residential Attendant Aide. In 1963 she transferred to the X-ray department and worked as an assistant to the X-ray technician for 15 years. In 1971 she transferred to the office of reception and worked as a switchboard operator. Five years later she was promoted within the department to the position of supervisor. After 37 years, Mary retired from Willowbrook and subsequently, she and her husband, the late Elmer Cooper moved to Willingboro, NJ,
A short time after settling in Willingboro, Mary came out of retirement and returned to work part-time as a school aide for the Willingboro Public School System. After two years she took on the position of Crossing Guard and worked in that position for 17 years. She was known for making holiday gift bags for the students at her crossing post. She retired again in June 2011 at the age of 83.
Retirement for Mary is not just sitting home, flipping channels with the remote; Oh No!! She keeps that TV on one channel “GSN” (Game Show Network). However, when not watching GSN, Mary does have a full schedule. and she is busy; going to aerobic classes three days a week, bowling in a senior league two days a week, taking computer classes, and participating in a monthly grandparents support group. Her hobbies included ceramics and crocheting, and making holiday gift bags for the children at church.
Mother Mary was a life-long active, vital member of the Rossville AME Zion Church where she served as organist, deaconess, missionary, steward, treasurer of the Sunday School and Lay Council. She was also actively involved in finance ministry, the Bread of Life Ministry which serves home cooked meals to the homeless, the Voices of Faith Choir, the Usher Ministry and other ministry groups.
Mary had a quiet, gentle, warm, loving and giving spirit. She knew God loved her and she loved God.
Mary was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Elmer Cooper her parents, Howard and Susan Henry and siblings; Howard (Hash) Henry Jr., Lois Augusta Henry Mosley, Frances Henry-Hemingway-Joseph, Donald Moody and her eldest daughter, Linda Sue Cooper Ganzy.
She leaves to cherish her memory: three daughters, Elmira John (Tony), Willingboro, NJ; Janice Taylor (Gregory) and Vickie Taylor (Carl) both of Staten Island, NY; eleven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren, two great great-grandchildren, Sister Theodora Moody-Walls, a host of nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.