Normal Cooper (1928 - 2018)

Obituary
  • "So Sorry to hear of Norma's Passing. She was a wonderful..."
    - Kathryn Baldwin-Hoskins
  • "God bless you Miss Norma. When I moved to Alaska you took..."
    - Rick Langley

Sterling resident Norma Cooper, died Saturday, June 16, 2018, at home after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 89.

Norma F. Cooper was born June 24, 1928, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to Norman Lantzy and Hilda (Everly) Lantzy, the oldest of five children and the only girl. She studied dance in New York City and attended Slippery Rock Teacher's College and studied dance.

Funeral services will be held Friday at noon on June 22, 2018, at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Soldotna. Father Tom Rush will officiate. A closed casket visitation will be held Thursday, June 21, between the hours of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Peninsula Memorial Chapel, 5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.

Her family wrote, "Our mother started teaching children how to dance shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her extensive career as a dance teacher stretched 70 years. She loved it.

"When we seven children were little, we spent many hours in our mother's dance studio in the basement of our home in Williamsville, New York. Dance was where she found joy. There were years she raised seven children on her own. She never seemed to sleep. She worked for the town's senior center during the day, taught dance into the evening and was still sewing when we all fell asleep. That was one of the things she taught us - you don't whine, you work.

"Her friends all thought her crazy when she retired to Alaska, driving a 26-foot U-Haul up the Alaska Highway. She wasn't retired for long. She opened North Star Dance Studio in Sterling, Alaska, and thousands of children learned to love dance because of Miss Norma's dedication to them. She loved performing and directing musical numbers for the Sterling Senior Center and for her church. She could play almost any instrument, including harp, guitar, trumpet, clarinet, piano and violin.

"When she wasn't teaching dance, she volunteered for a dozen nonprofits and relaxed by putting together 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. Once, her car broke down in Ninilchik, so she hitchhiked to the Soldotna Library where she was due to sort books in the basement. Her energy was boundless and she leaves a legacy of love not only for her family but for thousands of people in this community. Mom, we miss you but someone has to teach the angels to dance."

She is survived by her children and their spouses: Iona and Gene Baldock, of Boulder, Colorado, Tom and Donna Cooper, of Sterling, Alaska, Joan Ratzel, of Williamsville, New York, Barbara Fanara, of Independence, Missouri, Dorothy Perrett, of Independence, Missouri, Joe and Paulene Rizzo of Nikiski, Alaska and Yvonne Rizzo, of Orlando, Florida; brothers, Jim Lantzy of Coropolis, Pennsylvania, and Craig Lantzy of Deltona, Florida; 25 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Soldotna Library Friends.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel. Please sign or visit her online guestbook at AlaskanFuneral.com.
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Peninsula Memorial Chapel
5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.
Kenai, AK 99611
907-283-3333
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Published in The Peninsula Clarion on June 20, 2018