Sharon Joy Brown Cooper, second child of Robert LeRoy and Madge McCullough Brown, was born on September 14, 1935 in Mount Ayr, Iowa and passed away December 17, 2019 at the Accura Health Care Center in Pleasantville, Iowa.
Sharon grew up on a century farm in Ringgold County west of Lamoni, Iowa with her parents and two brothers Roger and Larry. Sharon preferred working out in the fields with her Dad on the farm over working in the house. She showed baby steers and heifers (shorthorn cattle) for nine years and belonged to the girls 4-H club. At the age of ten in 1946, Sharon won Champion White Shorthorn Steer at the Iowa State Fair. She sold her favorite steer Rocket, for prime beef after showing him in 1947! It goes to show you that “favorite” does not always equate to be the best thing in life. Sharon received her early education in Mount Ayr, Iowa graduating with the class of 1954 from Mount Ayr High School. Sharon went on to further her education at Iowa State University earning a degree in Home Economics Education and Extension graduating in 1958.
On August 7, 1960, Sharon married Dr. Richard (Dick) Eudean Cooper DVM at First Christian Church of Mt. Ayr, Iowa. To this union two children were born, Scott LeRoy Cooper of Joplin, Missouri and Shari Lynne Cooper Atwood of Altoona, Iowa.
In December of 1965, Sharon and Dick moved into their home that they designed out of a Better Homes and Gardens catalog at 859 Mikels Drive. They enjoyed raising their children, entertaining, gardening, and planting many flowerbeds.
Sharon was a Home Economics teacher in the Centerville school district from 1958 to 1962. She worked at the High School and then started the Junior High program before retiring to raise her children. Education was always important to Sharon particularly for young women. She served on the Centerville Community school board from 1976-1979. From 2008 through 2013, she volunteered for Lois Hayes’ 1st grade class at Central Ward Elementary School, listening to the kids read and baked them all cookies from time to time. She was a member of the retired teachers of Appanoose County. Sharon helped Dick operate the office at the Cooper Veterinary Clinic from 1993 until he retired in 1998, after 42 years of practice. Sharon was passionate about 4-H her entire life and judged many local achievement shows. She was a member of the Drake Avenue Christian Church transferring her membership from Mt. Ayr in 1960 and served as a deaconess, elder and Sunday school teacher throughout the years. She enjoyed decorating church bulletin boards and wrote the minutes for Disciple Women for 20 years to be published in the Iowegian. She was a member of P.E.O, Beta Sigma Phi, Hospital Auxiliary, T.T.T. (just to sell cheeseballs), Eastern Star, Red Hat and coordinated local blood drives.
Sharon loved celebrating and decorating for all holidays, with Christmas being her favorite. She would celebrate May Day by stealthily delivering baskets throughout the neighborhood, hanging them on front doors. A huge sports enthusiast, Sharon supported all sports at all levels and enjoyed seeing any sport live, in person or on television with her family. She attended hundreds of baseball, softball, football, basketball and swimming events watching her children and grandchildren play in Iowa, Ohio, and Georgia. She also visited several professional baseball stadiums catching games at the Cardinals, Royals, Dodgers, Indians, Yankees and Braves stadiums. Thankfully her brother Roger educated the family that baseball is best enjoyed with a Dodger dog, peanuts and several beers. Understanding, keeping and reporting the score of an event throughout the game was a requirement.
A Cyclone fanatic through and through, Sharon and Dick were Iowa State football season tickets holders since 1988 attending bowl games in Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Sharon loved to tailgate with her family at home games in Ames and meet other fans in her section who became lifelong friends. Her proudest moment was seeing her name on the scoreboard wishing her a happy 80th birthday during the Iowa State versus that “other university” game. Sharon and Dick enjoyed travelling with the 18-80 club and Iowa Trust Bank to numerous destinations after retirement. Visiting Ireland, kissing the blarney stone and touring where her ancestors migrated from was one of her favorite trips. They also vacationed and travelled to see family and friends in Ohio, Missouri, Florida and California.
In August 2000, Sharon and Dick celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at the Green Circle in Centerville with family and friends. Later that fall they took a land and sea cruise with their children to Alaska enjoying the glacier scenery and wildlife.
Sharon thoroughly enjoyed all types of music attending various concerts, musicals, show choir, band and piano contests as well as marching band performances. She played tenor sax in concert band while attending Iowa State. In later years, she participated in the Iowa State Alumni Football Marching Band at Jack Trice and Pep Band at Hilton.
Sharon was an avid writer of letters to family and friends and I am sure the Post Office took a significant financial hit when she was introduced to e-mail. She took great interest in her family and friends’ activities by cutting clippings from the newspaper documenting their travels, marriages, successes or interests saving them for posterity. If you invited Sharon to a wedding or any other event in the last 50 years, chances are pretty good she has saved it; especially if you made the local paper. Recently her son retrieved a 1979 Sports Illustrated from Sharon’s collection, and got Mr. Bleier to autograph his Super Bowl winning catch cover. As the family historian, Sharon knew or recalled the detailed history on both sides of the family better than the actual family member who may have been involved. Usually she would capture this family history in a letter, e-mail or on a 3X5 recipe card sharing her knowledge with family and friends. No detail was to small for an event Sharon attended right down to the place settings, napkins, decorations, and most importantly what was served to eat. She liked to learn as much as possible about the people she was around, in particular middle names, just to keep her mind busy she said.
Most of all, Sharon relished having friends, family and acquaintances over to her home for bridge parties, women groups, family get togethers, graduation parties, and birthdays. Attending parties hosted by others was also a passion as each event allowed her to show off her baking and cooking talents, sample others’ deserts, and exchange recipe cards with friends and neighbors. The class of 1981 has fond memories of attending an unplanned after hours social gathering at the Cooper home for their 10-year reunion.
Always on the go around town, Sharon was a very giving person, thought of others first and loved to laugh and smile.
Sharon is preceded in death in her immediate family by her husband of 48 years Dick Cooper, parents LeRoy and Madge Brown and brother Roger Odis Brown.
Sharon is survived by her son Scott LeRoy Cooper married to Robin Agnes Cooper and grandson Kyle Patrick Ringler; daughter Shari Lynne Atwood married to Mike Atwood and grandchildren Rachael Mae Atwood and Ryan Cooper Atwood; sister in law Peggy Brown (Roger), brother Larry Leroy Brown married to Joen and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, in-laws and friends. Most importantly she is survived by her beloved black cocker spaniel, Berta Lee, and her three Labrador retriever grand dogs Keeley Lynn, Jeffrey Ringler, and Bella Rose.
A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Sharon will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by her family and many friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11 AM, Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the Drake Avenue Christian Church in Centerville, with Pastor Ken Mehrhoff officiating. Burial will follow in the Haines Cemetery, north of Centerville. A visitation will take place Friday, December 20, 2019 at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville, with the family greeting friends from 5-7 PM. A memorial has been established to an Appanoose County 4H Scholarship and may be mailed to Lange Funeral Home, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa, 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.
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