Honoured by Carol and Chris, Marcia and Barry, Diane and Don, and Laurie and Steve.
Lois MacDonald Cooper is an inspiration to all who know her. At 90 years of age, she continues to be a wonderful role model. She was born and raised in Ottawa, the only child on Elwood and Mabel MacDonald. In 1943, at the age of 23, she enlisted in the Canadian Red Cross to work in England, Belgium and France as a Welfare Worker in Canadian Military Hospitals. Lois felt the need to serve her country and the world, putting herself at risk in many very difficult situations and having many wonderful experiences along the way.
Our father, John Sidney Cooper, was born in Toronto, October 14, 1912, one of eight children. His parents died early and he and his sisters raised their younger siblings. With much determination, Dad completed his Civil Engineering degree at U of Toronto during the Depression. He enlisted in 1943, and served as Lieutenant Commander in the Canadian Navy, aboard the HMCS Ottawa. Lois and John both returned to Canada in October, 1945, married and moved to North Bay in January, 1946 when our father secured employment with the ONR. He retired 34 years later as Chief Engineer of the ONR.
We remember our dad for his devotion to us all. He was a true family man, whose spare time was spent at our cottage on Trout Lake, or skiing most winter weekends with all of us. We have always known that we were our parents’ first priority. This joy of family time continued with our husbands and children; “nanny and daddy-dee” have very special places in the hearts of their sons-in-law and nine grandchildren. Having struggled through the Depression, Dad took his job as father and provider very seriously. He was a real “Mr. Fix It”, who would tackle any household job, including building our family home and cottage. Dad passed away during the summer of 1997. He handled aging and illness with dignity, patience and a sense of humour.
Mom continues to be a real inspiration as to how to embrace and live life to the fullest. She has met each stage of her life with enthusiasm, each challenge with creativity and persistence, each new individual with compassion and love. After the war, she worked as a full time homemaker, caring for her four daughters with passion. Her purpose in life is to provide joy, security and comfort to each of us. She has always been there to “cover our backs” when a difficulty arose, to share our times of joy, and to ease our lives. She continues to show us how to grow old with grace by accepting the death of our father, the loss of many friends, moving out of our family home, and into a retirement home, and ongoing medical issues. Lois is the ultimate giver, who cares for those around her rather than dwelling on herself. We are especially proud of her accomplishment of writing and publishing her book, “Wartime Letters Home”, a chronicle of her wartime experiences. She accomplished this task while in her eighties, and was honored by the Canadian Red Cross upon the completion of the book, which has provided a special legacy for us all.
We love you, Mom and Dad. Welcome to the Leaves of Inspiration! Carol, Marcia, Diane and Laurie