Ruth Leona (Mowat) Cooper November 12, 1922 - June 4, 2012 Ruth Leona Mowat Cooper passed away to her eternal home on June 4, 2012. She lived at the Cooper family farm north of Evart, Michigan, until just a few days before the time of her death at Munson Memorial Hospital in Traverse City. She was 89 years old when she passed away. Ruth was born to Edgar and Mary Pansy Pearl (Bell) Mowat at their family farm just north of Ogilvie Corners, on November 12, 1922, the sixth of nine children. She was taken to Sylvan and later the Ogilvie Sunday school and worship services even as a baby, and she was saved at an early age, always ready to go to church as it was a main part of her life. She attended the Ogilvie Country School, graduating from 8th grade and continued her education at Evart High School, graduating in 1939 at the age of 16. At a revival meeting, she met her husband-to-be, Robert W Cooper, who was called to become a preacher, and they were married on Christmas day, 1941, shortly after Pearl Harbor. Robert was inducted in to the army while they were living at Evart, and he lost his right leg in France and was shipped back to Percy Jones Hospital, Battle Creek, Michigan. After several months of recovery he was honorably discharged from Fort Custer, Michigan, and shortly thereafter they moved to the County Line Wesleyan Church, Twining, Michigan. As a pastor’s wife she raised her family in seven different locations, mostly in northern Michigan. They served the combined County Line and Turner Wesleyan circuit from 1945-1949, living in an old parsonage with no indoor toilets. They then moved to Marion Indiana, where they lived at Three Acres Trailer Park in a 24-ft mobile home (still with no indoor toilet!) from 1949-1951 while Bob finished his ministerial training at Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University). They then pastored five additional churches in northern Michigan from 1951-1973. Midland Wesleyan church (Ashman Street) 1951-1955, Hart Wesleyan Church, 1955-1960, Whitehall Wesleyan Church 1960-1963, Bay City Wesleyan Church 1963-1969, Cadillac Wesleyan Church 1969-1973, In 1973 her husband Bob, was elected District Superintendent of the North Michigan District of the Wesleyan Church and served in that position, still based at Cadillac from 1973-1977. A very shy person by nature, Ruth served in these parishes wherever needed as a pastor’s wife, determinedly taking on many roles which stretched her beyond any previously imagined limitations as hostess, teacher, pianist, and in various leadership roles in the Women's Missionary Societies. When Bob had a massive heart attack in 1977, and they retired to the family farm, she took on the role of a lifetime, when as her husband’s 24/7 caregiver she increasing had to become the day-by-day decision maker in all their family affairs. They raised their four children to serve the Lord, modeling the deep love they shared for one another in the manner in which they brought up their children. Discipline was creative and “fit the situation” such as the time when Russell decided to run away from home, and she helped him pack his teddy bears and all of his favorite things into the Ruth Leona Mowat Cooper 1922-2012
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suitcase. Halfway down the driveway he gave up the effort, and never ran away again. When more children arrived and the squabbles got too rambunctious the offending parties were each relegated to separate corners and sternly told that they were not to talk to one another or laugh or grin at one another. You can imagine Mom’s quiet grin of satisfaction from the next room when angry expressions gave way to friendly laughter. In regard to that classic remedy of having naughty words washed out of ones mouth with soap, one of the offenders practiced washing his own mouth out with soap to build up resistance. Though plenty of spankings were included all four children agree that they were never disciplined in anger, and that those “lickings” were usually accompanied by the statement “This hurts me more than it does you.” A very special memory is of Mom with tears streaming down her face reading a Grace Livingston Hill or Gene Stratton Porter novel to her children. Mom was often seen with an open Bible on her lap and another special memory is of family prayers every morning before school. If you were to visit her of a morning in her later years you might find her praying out loud for each and every one of her family members by name, along with her “extended family” which included numerous people from numerous churches and communities, and all around the world. She is survived by her four children and their spouses: Russell (Mary) serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea, Joyce (Robert) Tripp pastoring churches, Bruce (Sharen), Naomi (Roger) Sellnow. She has eight grandchildren Juanita (Larry) Valliere, Paul Tripp, Collette (Sean) Anderson, Maureen (Jason) Jordan, Eric, Sara Cooper, Michael (Amber) Sellnow, and Kevin Sellnow. There are nine great-grandchildren: Ryan & Calvin Hodgson, Robbie, Amanda & Laura Valliere, Noelani, Keala & Koa Anderson and Eli Sellnow. She is also survived by one sister Elizabeth Sowles-Ralph. Preceding her in death is her husband Robert W Cooper (18 March, 2004) her parents Edgar and Mary Bell Mowat, and brothers Frederick (and Isabella Mowat), Harold (and Helen) Mowat and Earl Mowat, a sister Ethel Mae, and three younger siblings who died in infancy. Also preceding her in death are brother-in-law Eugene Welton and sisters-in-law Frieda Elenbaas and Laura Laycock She is survived by brothers-and sisters-in-law, Lela Mowat Wheeler, Ralph Laycock, Joe Elenbaas, Ruth Welton, David & Una Cooper, Jeannette and Morry Holsum, Roger & Lois Cooper, and many nieces and nephews. (Services were conducted by Pastor Paulette Zoulek at the Corey Funeral Home, Evart Michigan at 1:00 p.m., on Wednesday June 6th, 2012. interment followed at the Cherry Valley Cemetery (Avondale) and a luncheon was hosted by the Free Methodist Church and Pisgah Heights Wesleyan Church following the grave side service at the Evart Free Methodist Church Fellowship Hall on 95th Avenue [just west of Osceola County Fairgrounds, and south of the new Evart High School] In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the family, to Wycliffe Bible Translators, or to the Pisgah Heights Wesleyan Church.) The "obituary" was written by our mom herself, just a few months ago, but the "in memoriam" lines in italics were added after Mom's death, by us, her children. RussCooper - June 6, 2012.
Ruth Leona Mowat Cooper 1922-2012
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