Bertha Cooper
Bertha Cooper
October 12, 2021
Olympia, Washington - Bertha Cooper passed away October 12, 2021, at age 93. She was born at the family farm on Michigan Hill in south Thurston County to Rudolf and Freida Grunenfelder, one of 12 children. Growing up on the farm, she learned about hard work and everyone doing their part to support the family – cooking and canning, sewing, raising fruit and vegetables, looking after the animals. A big family also had other benefits, such as being able to mount a baseball team on their own; Bertha learned to pitch, catch and hit like her brothers and played the game for years. Bertha was the last of the family team.
She was a graduate of Centralia High School and briefly attended the College of Puget Sound, now UPS.
In 1948, Bertha married Edward W. Roberts. They raised three sons and Bertha enjoyed the hurly burly North Bethel Street house filled with busy boys. Bertha and Ed later divorced.
Bertha then married John H. Cooper. With John, she traveled extensively before settling for a while in Rochester and then back in Olympia.
Over the years, Bertha enjoyed several jobs: part-time housekeeper and nanny, school photographer's assistant, and in Saudi Arabia, laboratory assistant for a grain research project and school library assistant. She also helped two other families by caring for three more boys in her home.
Bertha appreciated the beauty of natural things. She loved to tend her gardens, growing beautiful flowers and other interesting plants and trees, which she shared with family and friends. She couldn't pass up potting that new seedling or cutting she found, or reviving a plant located on the discount (toss) rack at the garden store. She also loved quilting and enjoyed her time as part of the Gate Homemakers Club, piecing quilts. She and John helped repair and keep the old, historical Gate School in operation for local events and Homemakers projects.
Bertha was adventurous. She liked being on her bike and traveled the back roads of Thurston County. She discovered blackberry patches (secret picking locations), a box full of kittens, money, and numerous items to recycle. Bertha thrived while living in Saudi Arabia, and made two trips around the world. She also RV traveled the United States from one end to the other. Not bad for a girl from Michigan Hill.
Bertha was a private person, but she continually made friends wherever she was. Bertha loved her social life – coffee with neighbor moms, family gatherings, beach weekends with friends. She was proud of her ability to be living on her own and renewing her driver's license at her 90th birthday. For the last 2 ½ years Bertha lived at Fieldstone Independent and Assisted Living in Olympia, where she made a new set of friends.
Bertha's three sons survive her, Michael Roberts (Judy Hartmann), Tumwater; Daniel Roberts (Lesley), Olympia; and James Roberts (friend Linda Ellison), Tumwater. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews; their many visits over the years were thoroughly enjoyed.
John Cooper preceded her in death.
Bertha's family thanks Dr. McGinty and the rest of the team at Kaiser Permanente for many years of excellent care. Providence Sound Homecare and Hospice staff were extremely helpful. We are also forever grateful for the wonderful staff at Fieldstone for their warm, expert and caring support of Bertha.
Remembrance arrangements are pending.
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Published by The Olympian on Oct. 17, 2021.
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