OLIVE BELLE (MONTGOMERY) COOPER

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OLIVE BELLE COOPER (nee MONTGOMERY) It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Olive Belle Cooper (nee Montgomery). Billie passed away Sunday night surrounded by family at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill. She will be dearly missed by her husband Sylvan, daughter Sharon and son David and wife Gillian and son Paul and his wife Anna. Her legacy will live on in grandsons Joshua and Jason and granddaughters Zoe and Hannah. She leaves behind her brother Ron and was predeceased by sisters Violet and Margaret. Born March 24, 1925, Billie lived a full and rich life; she was a strong woman with a big laugh and a huge, kind heart. An outgoing force of nature and a woman ahead of her time, she always made time to chat with anyone she met. Friends and family will recall her quick smile, zest for life and a woman constantly on the move, gladly taking on all the challenges of a life well lived. A descendant of United Empire Loyalists, Billie was proud of her rich Montgomery family heritage. With 18th Century roots that predated Confederation, she had several illustrious ancestors that played a part in the history of Canada: Montgomery's Tavern which served as a staging ground for the rebellion of 1837 was part of family lore; Lucy Maude Montgomery was a distant relative; and when Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery passed away her father received a few hundred Pounds Sterling as inheritance. Her father Oliver was the first property manager at the O'Keefe Centre and her childhood home was full of show biz photos and mementos from the era. This pride in her heritage led Billie to see it as a duty to take an active role in making her community a better place for all. Billie was a presence in her neighbourhood, making a point of getting to know all the families in the community. Locally she lobbied the old borough of North York to install the first public bocce court after watching her neighbours enjoy the game on a piece of scrub grass by the public school. Billie followed this up by getting lights installed so that her neighbours' enjoyment could continue into the evening. An enjoyment in community service led Billie to found Forgotten Corners rate-payers association providing recreational facilities for a then neglected corner of North York. Billie was also an active member of the Liberal party of Canada and served on the successful campaigns of several MPs for York-West Riding through the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s. Her long service was rewarded with an honorary position in the Party, a distinction she was rightly proud of. To her family she was a constant inspiration and pillar of support. Billie was always on the go and stressed the importance of service and charity to her children. An active member of the Sisterhood of Beth Am synagogue, she instilled in her children the value of giving, setting an example of what the concept of Mitzvah meant: Billie was always making time to help out the underprivileged, the infirm and anyone in need. At the same time she dearly loved her children and spared no effort in attending to raising them. She taught her children to be open minded, fair and giving. She stressed the importance of education to her children; with her constant support and encouragement Sharon, David and Paul all graduated from University. Her many friends will remember Billie as fun-loving and loyal, a woman who enjoyed entertaining at her homes in Toronto and Florida. Billie loved the open road and was always on the go. She had a keen interest in design and decor and an enthusiasm for antiques and curios. She loved pets and especially her Yorkie Mickey, who kept her company on many drives to Florida. Billie spent the last few years at home focusing on family. She took great joy in her children's happiness and accomplishments. She enjoyed watching Paul and Anna's sons Joshua and Jason grow into fine young men. The recent arrival of David and Gillian's twin daughters Zoe and Hannah added smiles and much laughter to her home. Her devoted daughter Sharon was a constant support to Billie, and provided much appreciated help whenever it was needed. Sharon was a tiny baby and at the time this was not as commonplace as it is today. It was only with huge effort and endless dedication from her mother that Sharon went on to thrive, grow strong and grow into the accomplished woman Billie was so proud to call her daughter. Billie delighted in Sharon's world travels and loved to hear her stories and share the pictures she took. In the end, she was her own woman, true to herself as well as family and friends and all our worlds are diminished with her passing. Funeral services will be held at: York Cemetery and Visitation Centre, 160 Beecroft Road, Toronto, M2N 5Z5 (1 block West of Yonge, north of Sheppard). Chapel Service commences at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 15th. The family will be hosting a celebration of Billie's life for guests following the service from 3:30 till 9:30 p.m. at Paul and Anna's home. Details made available after the service.

Published in the Toronto Star from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2012
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