Diane Rose Cooper, 74
April 24, 1943
May 3, 2017

Diane Rose CooperDiane Rose Cooper (Smith), 74, of Plymouth, Michigan, and Leesburg, Florida, passed away Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at the Lane Purcell Hospice House in Sumterville, Florida, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Diane was born in West Bend on April 24, 1943, where she was raised by the late Armond and Elizabeth (Groh) Smith.

Diane graduated from West Bend High School in West Bend with the class of 1961. On June 13, 1966, she was united in marriage to the love of her life for more than 50 years, Larry Alvin Cooper, in West Bend.

Diane’s passion for children began in 1968 with the birth of their son, David, and grew in 1973 with the birth of their daughter, Jennifer. In 1971, the young family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where Diane got her start in early childhood education, volunteering at Headstart preschool where she was affectionately referred to as "the white lady."

In 1977, the family moved to Sheboygan, where Diane began her teaching career with Headstart preschool. Her passion for fairness and opportunity to all children and ultimately people continued to grow and develop here, along with an incredible friendship that would have a profound effect on her and ultimately help her understand what it is to have gratitude no matter the situation. Diane’s positive approach to life and capacity for caring are evident to many in her work: as a teacher, to a Plymouth township poll volunteer, to helping jailed mothers record books to listen to while they are away, to an activist for justice in Palestine-Israel. Diane’s passion for a healthy, vibrant life was evident to all in the amazing meals she would regularly prepare for her family, and transcended to the many fun family and social activities she engaged in. Her family is grateful she had such a passion for camping, family reunions, and international travel. Her friends fondly remember her gracing them with the warmest of smiles, whether she was at ladies golf, couples golf, knitting groups, strong women fitness, and Friday and Thursday night dining groups.

Diane was an incredibly impactful person and although she took great pride in her work and volunteer activities, her greatest pride was her family. She is survived by her beloved husband, Larry Alvin Cooper; son, David and Kelly Cooper; daughter, Jennifer and Chad Chichester; grandchildren, Zachary and Rachel Chichester; three sisters, Gerri (Don) Ness, Jean (Mike) Braatz and Ruth (Tom) Heinecke; sisters-in-law, Delores Lillge and Elaine Chambers; and many other aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.

Celebration of life services to be tentatively held Sunday, July 30, at First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Saturday, Aug. 5, at Tri-County Unitarian Universalists in Summerfield, Florida.

If you wish to make a donation (tax deductible) in memory of Diane, please make out a check to the "AET Library Endowment" (Federal ID # 52-1460362) and send it to AET, P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056, with "In memory of Diane Cooper" in the memo line.