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Cooper, Judith (nee Jordan)

December 28, 1937 – Saskatoon, SK
August 13, 2014 – Calgary, AB

A few talented people spend much of their lives quietly helping others. Judy was one of those. She was good with words. Her sociology prof at the University of Manitoba recognized that and enlisted her help in marking her classmates’ essays. Her friends treasured her letters. Nightly reading before bedtime was a delight for her offspring, Merrill, Brent, and Kim, and she later applied her mellifluous voice to the tough job of making audio recordings of textbooks for blind university students. Young children were also always in the mix. Early on, as a social worker in Montreal, she made sure they were adopted right and proper, and in Calgary, she led in the establishment of the U of C Child Care Centre, even though as a stay-at-home mom she had no need for it. Judy was an exceptional wife, mother, and grandmother. She patiently and lovingly cared for her husband Rod for over 50 years. She was so devoted to Rod, in fact, that she once worked with him to lay down 211 sidewalk blocks, each over a hundred pounds, to replace crumbling walkways and patios. She was a wizard in the kitchen, and she continued to offer up a delicious Sunday dinner for the entire family almost right up until the end. Throughout her life, young parents sought her sage counsel about childrearing and, when her own kids had reached their teens, she mentored a few new, young mothers who needed a little extra help. Her adeptness with the newborn was capitalized on by Foothills Hospital, where she instructed new mothers in the care of their neonates. Later in life she volunteered with a local organization to make school lunches for hungry kids. And hundreds, if not thousands, of kids will never know how hard she worked to get them the local playground. Finally, Judy was a true friend to countless people. She was special enough to be adopted by both friends and acquaintances as a counsellor to care for their ailing psyches. In helping others Judy was probably the best combination of an atheist and a Christian you could assemble. She included a nun among her lifelong friends and, while she never attended a service, each Saturday for years she helped the church secretary, who lived next door, and the altar guild to arrange flowers for Sunday services. Charities counted on her to canvass the neighbourhood. She was always there for everyone who needed her. There, a few bits about an unsung person who deserves singing about. And, oh yes, we almost forgot, she had a special way with animals. The cats followed her and the kids on their visits down the street, waiting patiently on doorsteps for the human members of the family to rejoin them. You see, the cats loved her, too. She will be missed.

Please join the family in an open house memorial reception at St. Andrew’s Heights Community Hall (2504 13 Avenue N.W.) on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 between 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Agapé Hospice or Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.

In living memory of Judy Cooper, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Kaitlyn Hetherington :

    I am so saddened to hear that such a wonderful woman has passed. She had a way of making me feel important and welcome even though I only saw her once every few years.

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  2. Joanne Costello :

    Judy was always vibrant and warm, and made me feel special when I was a little kid.

    My condolences to Rod, Merrill, Brent, Kim and all the family.

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  3. Violet Costello :

    Parting with Judy is a heart-breaking loss; I loved her so very much.

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  4. Cecilia Martell :

    What a beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman! It shines with love, respect, and affection for both the person and the rich life she led, and resonates with the joy and sadness her passing leaves in the hearts of those who loved her. She clearly left an indelible impression on many, in whose memory she will continue to reside. Unfortunately, I never had the great pleasure of knowing her, but send my deepest condolences to her family, in particular to Merrill, with whom I went to school and who later went on to do such important advocacy work for the women of Calgary — I know she shared the passions her mother espoused. May you all find comfort in your memories and in being together in your loss.

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  5. Carol Daugharty :

    As a child I spent many hours with Merrill at her mom and dad’s house. I have fond memories of Judy and her kindness to myself and my family who lived next door (she must have spent a fortune supplying me with Freezies in my 11th year!). She cared and was there to listen when anyone was troubled. I will always remember her….

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  6. Harold Anderson :

    The obituary was a revelation. To the Andersons, Judy was just the warm and wonderful lady next door who was a friend to all of us for 50 years. She will be missed.

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  7. Natalie Purschwitz :

    Dear Rod, Merrill, Brent, Kim, Patrick, Adrien, Lauren and Jordan,

    I’ve only had a few glimpses into Judy’s world over these many years that I’ve known Kim but I feel so lucky, indeed honored, to have partaken in a few of your family dinners where the love you all have for each other, though sometimes disguised, has been clear. I’ve eaten her yoyo cookies before many an opening night and it is through gestures like these that I have witnessed the generosity of her character. I knew Judy mostly vicariously through Kim, though that has been proof enough of her true goodness. Though I credit Kim herself for being one of the kindest, most generous and most optimistic friends I have ever known, I know this could only have happened with the guidance, support and example set by her loving parents. In this way, I will continue to experience Judy’s spirit.

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

    Much love,

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  8. I loved going over to Kim’s house and spending time in the kitchen with Judy — she was such a warm and loving presence, and she was also funny, had great style, and was unfailingly calm and kind. I always looked forward to updates about Judy from Kim whenever I would come back to Calgary to visit, and I was saddened to hear about her illness, but was gratified — and kind of amazed — at how close the whole family remained year after year– how enmeshed they were in each others lives. Judy was clearly devoted to her family, and you’ve all returned the favor by being devoted to her. I’m so sorry for your enormous loss, but happy that Judy did such a great job of keeping your family close and connected. May you continue to support and bolster each other in the time of need.
    much love,

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