Thursday, February 18, 2016

Remarks at Jan Cooper's Funeral

OBITUARY of Jan Cooper
Read by David R. Kenney
February 9, 2016

Janet B. (Jan) Cooper

Janet (Jan) Jones Cooper, age 81, passed from this life on Friday evening, February 5th.  She was the daughter of the late Willie E. and Dora Wagner Jones.  She was born May 3, 1934 at Belington, WV.  She was a graduate of Philippi High School, 1952.  She is survived by her husband, Evangelist Donald R. Cooper, to whom she was married March 7, 1954.  Jan was a member of the Lincoln Avenue Church of Christ in Bucyrus where her husband is the minister.  They have three daughters, Sandra Haltom(Michael) of Henderson, TN; Penny Helton (Biff) of Lawrenceburg, TN; Michele Pitsenbarger of Moyer, WV; a son, Michael of Harrisonburg, VA and a foster son, Robert Scott (Debbie) of Ashland, OH.  Also surviving are five grandchildren, Crystal Matthews (Matt), Billy Helton III (Lindsay), Ashley Rutledge (Adam), Danielle Hamilton, and James Cooper.  She also has eight great-grandchildren, Grant Matthews, Makenzie Matthews, Maleigha Hamilton, Brooklyn Helton, Billy Helton IV, Gracie Rutledge, Reese Rutledge, and Knox Helton.  They also had 16 foster children.
Just like Ruth who said to Naomi, her mother in law, “For wherever you go, I will go” (Ruth 1:16).  Jan said this to Don many times while they moved to different areas to work with many congregations.  They complemented each other and she was always by his side.  Jan was the virtuous woman spoken of in Proverbs 31.  She loved the Lord and the church.  She taught Bible classes of all ages and especially loved teaching the children.  She was an encourager and a great listener, easy to talk with and very compassionate.  Her favorite Bible verse was found in Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint”.
Jan liked to read, travel, work in the flower garden, collect music boxes and especially loved her precious family.  Jan loved flowers so Don and the girls always made sure she had them throughout the year.  Pink and white carnations were always Jan & Don’s special flower.  Jan also loved putting together photo albums and cherished looking at them often.
She was preceded in death by an infant brother, Harold, brother Fred C. Jones, and sister Imogene Burner.  She is also survived by a sister Wilda R. Burner of Philippi, WV and a brother Jack E. Jones of Doylestown, Ohio.
Memorial gifts may be made to Akron General Visiting Nurse Hospice, 3358 Ridgewood Rd, Akron, OH  44333.
Remarks at the Funeral of Jan Cooper
David R. Kenney
In 2001, my father, Warren F. Kenney, introduced Don Cooper and made reference to the fact that they first met Don and Jan Cooper around 1970 in Barbour County, WV.  Dad said he remembered it well saying even though he was “…a baby on my mother’s knee.”  Dad was actually preaching for the church there, but I, on the other hand, was but three years old when we moved to Barbour County.  In fact, I recall Don saying that Jan’s mother practically raised me.  Our families have remained close over the years.
Don and Jan would come to Jan’s parents in Barbour County, and they became friends with our family.  Mom and Dad treasured their friendship through the years, as do Annette and I.  Dad truly loved Jan’s parents. In fact, Dad conducted the memorial services for both of Jan’s parents (W.E. and Dora Jones), and I knew that Jan had planned for Dad to be one of the speakers for her memorial service.
Dad told a funny story about Jan’s father.  Somehow Dad got in his mind that Jan’s father’s last name was Daugherty, rather than Jones.  Jan’s father would correct him, but eventually give up and overlook it.  I found this humorous because I was in Don and Jan’s home not that long ago.  I was upstairs and she was downstairs.  She went to make a statement to me, and I believe the name “Warren” was on her mind.  (Such has been known to happen, which I take as an honor.)  She knew my name was not Warren, but she just could not place my name.  She turned to Don, thinking I would no hear her, and asked him softly “What’s his name?”  I replied, “My name is David Kenney.  I am so glad to meet you.”  She let me know in her very emphatic way that she knew exactly what my name was!
One of my fond memories of Jan is Dad telling a story about Jan in the rear of Lloyd Auditorium as we were all gathered around during a break of the lectureship.  Now, in case you wonder why I am telling such a funny story at her funeral, I recall her laughing, as she reached over to tell Don “I want him to tell that story at my funeral.” I am honored to be able to fulfill that request.
Dad had called their house and disguised his voice. 
Dad:  “Is this the residence of 330-336-7897?” 
Jan: “Yes, it is.” 
Dad: “Ma’am, this is the Wadsworth Police Department, and we have received a report of a domestic disturbance.”
Jan: “There is no domestic disturbance here.  You must have the wrong number.”
Dad:  “Is this 225 Knollwood Drive?”
Jan:  “Yes, it is, but there is NO domestic disturbance here.”
Dad:  “Well, ma’am, we have to take every call relating to domestic disturbance very seriously, and this is the number and address we received.  In fact, we will have to send a policeman over in a few moments to investigate this reported domestic disturbance.”
Jan:  “I just told you there was no domestic disturbance!”
Dad:  “Well, ma’am, perhaps you have changed your mind about the incident, but it is our policy to come in person and verify every report.  Would it be permissible for us to drive over right now and fill out a report?”
Jan:  “It most certainly would not!  There is NO domestic disturbance!  I am here at the house by myself!”
Thankfully, I have heard the story before, and recall commenting: “Needless to say, there was a domestic disturbance in the making!”
The psalmist wrote long ago:  “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.  For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5, NKJV.)  Some seek to characterize times such as this as a “celebration”. To each their own, but I look at these times as the apostle Paul wrote, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, NKJV.)  We sorrow, but we hope too!
We have sung the words to this hymn for years:  “When death has come and taken our loved ones, it leaves our home so lonely and drear.”  These days have come upon both of our families.  Jan put her faith in the One who recognized death as an enemy and conquered it.  He not only achieved the victory over death, but gave her the victory over death too.  Father Along, we, as Christians, will celebrate in that victory too!
To Don and the entire Cooper family, we extend our deepest sympathies and affections during this time of loss and separation.  There will be days of loneliness and drear, and if we can help alleviate some of those feelings, if for even a little while, please let us know. 
A grand reunion awaits!  


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