Obituaries » Wilma Cooper

Wilma Cooper

December 9, 1923 - June 5, 2020

Burial Date June 10, 2020

A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Genessee Prairie Cemetery in Oshtemo. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date, as Wilma would be the first to want to have everyone be able to take off our masks and give each other a proper hug. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Wilma Multhaupt Cooper fell asleep in death on June 5, 2020 in the loving care of the Alamo Nursing Home staff. She was born to the late Fritz and Elizabeth Multhaupt on December 9, 1923, on Lovers Lane in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Wilma graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1942 and received a Master of Education from Eastern Michigan University in 1972.

She married the late Richard F. Cooper in 1944 and they lived together in Kalamazoo until 1959 when they relocated to Jackson, then returned to Kalamazoo after retiring in 1986. Wilma is survived by her daughter, Susan (Randy) Smith of Kalamazoo. She is also survived by two granddaughters, Heidi (Derrick) Balser and Megan LaFountain and two great-grandchildren Larkin and Colton LaFountain. Wilma was preceded in death by her loving husband, “Dick” and son, Robert “Bobby”, daughter, Jean Ann, grandson, Noah Smith and five siblings, Cora, Emily, Anna, Arthur and Mary.

Wilma and Dick worked tirelessly for handicapped children having two blind children with autism. Together they helped form the first school for special needs in Kalamazoo, beginning in their basement, then moving on to the First Presbyterian church, and eventually it grew into the John F Kennedy Center on Oakland Drive. In 1970, she began a career as a Special Educator for East Jackson Middle School in Jackson and worked with boundless energy for 15 years, enrolling her “kids” in Special Olympics and 4-H.

She and Dick traveled extensively, visiting all 50 states and abroad. Together they traveled with Bobby every summer in a motor home. Her quest for learning was never satisfied, as she felt that in every vacation there was something new to learn and visited many national parks and historical monuments.

She was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo.