In Memory: Joan N. Cooper

Joan N. Cooper, 87, died in St. Paul in the company of family on July 5. She was born Joan Neree Olson on Nov. 25, 1924, in Mille Lacs Township. She is survived by daughters Linda Cooper, Laura Cooper and Jane Cooper Hong; grandchildren Colleen Rae, John Muldowney, Zachary Scott, Nathan Scott, Aleta Hong, Dena Hong and Jana Hong; great-grandchildren Alex Rae, Nick Scott, Nate Scott, Austin Scott, Hayley Scott, Kaysie Scott and Levi Scott; great-great-grandchild Rowan Scott; sister Elizabeth Lanzatella; brothers Bill Ames, Don Olson and Phil Ames; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She is also survived by Nell and Anna Mae Cooper, the last two Cooper wives, and hundreds of descendants of the 13 Cooper brothers and sisters.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Mark Cooper; her parents, Arthur Olson and Mary (Hubbard) Ames; and brother, Jack Ames.

Joan worked in a variety of positions, from proofreader to postal worker, but her career was as a financial assistance worker for the Ramsey County. During that time, she also served as president of her AFSCME chapter. For many years after retiring, she took a tax-preparation class every year and helped other seniors with their income tax returns.

Greatly influenced by the Great Depression, Joan was an FDR Democrat who fought hard for LBJ's Great Society. A vocal advocate for universal access to basic necessities, education and medical care, she was active in the DFL and participated in every precinct caucus for as long as her thoughts were clear. She also opened her home to many beyond her immediate family, when they were between homes or needed a place to stay for almost any reason.

Joan wrote many articles for print magazines and e-newsletters on politics, travel and gardening. A longtime Scrabble, Bridge and 500 player, Joan was also a regular at Texas Hold 'em at the American Legion in Roseville.

A member of numerous garden clubs and a Master Gardener, Joan had flowers blooming from the last snowfalls of spring through the first hard frosts of fall. One of her crowning achievements was being a stop on an international garden tour in 2009. She would not move from her hilltop home in Roseville until she fulfilled that commitment, which she managed to do at the age of 85 with the help of boarder, Mike Connors, friend Mia McDavid, and other relatives, friends and fellow garden club members. To all who helped her fulfill that dream, thank you.

Another achievement was the opening of the Roseville Arboretum. Joan donated hundreds of hours of her time and thousands of dollars worth of plants to that cause. To add to her legacy there, the family asks that memorials go to the Roseville Central Park Arboretum.

Memorial service for Joan Cooper will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 22, at Pilgrim House Fellowship, 1212 W. Hwy 96, Arden Hills.

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