May 28, 1929 – September 13, 2020
Kathleen I. Cooper, 91, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, September 13, 2020. Kathy was born to Allan & Jennie Cooper on May 28, 1929 in Abbotsford, BC. She lived her entire life in Abbotsford on the beloved family dairy farm.
Kathy graduated from Phillip Sheffield High School in 1947 and Vancouver Normal School for teachers in 1949. She started teaching at Peardonville Elementary School in Abbotsford and soon became Principal there. She was later Principal at Barrowtown Elementary on Sumas Prairie, until her retirement in 1993.
Kathy was one of the first women principals in the Abbotsford School District and was a dedicated educator for a total of 44 years. Many of her former students will fondly remember the trips to Birch Bay, to which Miss Cooper always treated her Grade 7’s during the summer, before they moved on to their secondary education!
After retiring from teaching, Kathy gave the farm her full attention. From the time of her father’s death, Kathy not only managed that farm single-handedly (right up until the very day she passed!), but she expanded the size of the milking herd from 30 to 100 cows.
Every cow and calf on her farm had a name (not just a number) and was raised with love, attention, and personal handling. In other words, HER cows were beloved pets, not just commercial commodities!
Kathy had many workers and helpers over the years who assisted in the twice-daily milkings and other chores required for the functioning of the farm and household.
Many were loyal, long-term employees who became like members of her family. To her neighbors around the farm, and also those looking down from the heights of Glen Mountain, Kathy became a familiar figure over the years, as she rode her quad, taking her German Shepherds ’round the fields each day.
She was delighted anytime a neighbor would comment on their enjoyment of living near the farm and seeing the cows grazing in the fields. Miss Cooper and her cows will be sorely missed by all who knew her and also by those who only knew of her.
Farming was Kathy’s very way of life and it was her passion in life! She never wished or longed for anything else. Once asked if she had any desire for travel, she responded, “Why would I want to go anywhere else? My farm IS my paradise!”
Kathleen Cooper (“Kay” to her immediate family) was preceded in death by her mother (1975), her father (1977), elder sister Mina MacDonald (2013), grand-niece Carolanne Perry (2019), and long-time family friend and neighboring farmer George Crossley (1991).
She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law Sheila & Ken Price (Marysville, WA); nieces: Michele Price-Perry (Marysville); Brenda Jones Hunter (Salmon Arm); and nephews: Greg Price (Seattle); Raymond Smith (Sault St. Marie); Kathy also leaves behind her long-time, treasured friend, and fellow farmer, Hank Kruyer (Huntingdon); as well as several grand-nieces/nephews, cousins, and many cherished friends who are too numerous to list here (but we’re pretty sure you all know who you are!). Kathy cherished ALL her friends, no matter whether she saw you every day, or if many months/years had passed since you spoke. You were all held dearly in her heart!
On that note, Kay’s family would like to extend our gratitude to the legion of friends and workers and helpers who helped to take care of Kathy over the years and during those times when we couldn’t be there ourselves. You will always be considered family with us too and our doors will evermore be opened with warmth and welcome to you all.
We know how tremendously each of you will miss her and mourn for her; we grieve with you. In the days and years to come, may we all find comfort, strength, joy, and peace in our fond memories of this truly great lady: Our beloved Miss Cooper, Kathy, Auntie Kay; with love, sorrow, and until we meet again, we bid thee farewell.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a date and time to be determined.
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