Mary Ann Hook Cooper, whose true age long remained a mystery even to family and close friends, died Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at Beechwood Rehabilitation Center in New London, after a life she herself described as "incredibly lucky."
Mary Ann, the mother of Carrie Jacobson, editor of the Sunday Record, was born Sept. 12 (192?), in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the daughter of Carrie and Oscar Hook. She grew up in Swarthmore, Pa., and graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., where she majored in psychology. After college, she worked as assistant to the publisher of The Saturday Evening Post in Philadelphia. The position not only used her remarkable 140-words-per-minute typing skills, but also drew on her love of writing and words.
In 1953, she married Dr. Donald W. Cooper. They moved to New London in 1961. Following their divorce in 1981, she opened I Scream, a summertime ice cream parlor in Stonington Borough. Later, she worked as office manager for Dr. William Jones in New London.
Mary Ann gave her time freely to many causes and organizations, including Child and Family Agency, A Moveable Feast, and Contact. She worked with victims of domestic violence and taught literacy in the women's correctional system. As a member of the New London Garden Club, she helped beautify New London with the city's first public flower planters. For years, she belonged to the Second Congregational Church in New London.
In recent years, Mary Ann embarked on a passionate mission to help abandoned and neglected cats. She worked tirelessly for Friends of Feral Felines, feeding and sheltering feral cats, finding homes for abandoned ones, and building a strong spaying and neutering program. Her own home was never without feline companions, many of whom were chronically ill, difficult or otherwise unadoptable.
Mary Ann played the piano with verve. She loved skiing, walking with her dog, and when her children were young, sitting with them in the summer sun on Guthrie Beach. She loved everything to do with food. Passionate about dining, an inventive cook, she enjoyed few things more than spending hours with family and friends over dinner at her favorite restaurant of the moment, or in her kitchen, famous for its bold flavors and convivial warmth. She loved adventure, and traveled by herself to Africa, and later, with her children to Germany and Portugal, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Mary Ann Cooper lived a warm, bright life. A woman of vast spirit and great good humor, she had a gift for friendship; people who knew her even slightly would talk about how special she made them feel. She spoke her truth and radiated optimism, never trying to change people, but rather, cherishing them as they were.
She is survived by her children and their families, Carrie and Peter Jacobson and their daughter, Erika Jacobson and her children, John, Samantha and Ashton Jacobson; Rand and Molly Cooper and their daughter Larkin; Laurie Cooper and Dov Kugelmass and their three children, Carrie, Cyrus and Tessa. She is also survived by her brother and his wife, Dick and Mari Hook, and their three children, Andrew, Nick and Jamie.
At her request, there will be no funeral service. On her birthday, her friends and family will scatter her ashes and celebrate her life.
Instead of flowers, Mary Ann would want you to make a gift of your time or money in her name to Friends of Feral Felines, Box 91, East Lyme, CT 06333; Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah 84741; or the American Cancer Society. CHARLOTTE E. O'NEILL
Formerly of Massapequa, Long Island
Charlotte E. O'Neill, an area resident since 2005, died Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at the Westchester Medical Center.
The daughter of the late Anthony Chiusano and Marie Nelson Chiusano. She was predeceased by her husband Richard J. O'Neill Sr.
Survivors include her sons, Richard J. O'Neill Jr. and wife Diane of Middletown, Daniel O'Neill and wife Debra of California and Patrick O'Neill of Copiague, N.Y.; grandchildren, Lori O'Neill, Dana Dembroski and husband Alex, Dustin O'Neill and wife Samantha, Darcy Kim Royle O'Neill, Robert Royle O'Neill, Jessica O'Neill and Ian O'Neill and wife Amber; great- grandchildren, Alexander Dembroski, Madison Dembroski, Jackson O'Neill and Dillon O'Neill. Mrs. O'Neill is also survived by many loving, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends may call Friday, July 21 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the Powell Funeral Home Inc, 67 Broadway (Rt 110) Amityville.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, July 22 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours RC Church, Union Avenue, Amityville.
Interment will be at St. Charles Cemetery, E. Farmingdale, N.Y.
The family suggests, as an alternative to flowers, memorial contributions in Mrs. O'Neill's name be made to: Airport Playhouse, 218 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bellport, NY 11716.
Published in Times Herald-Record on Jul. 21, 2006.