Phyllis Irene Cooper: January 18, 1921 to February 2, 2021
The family and friends of Phyllis Cooper are saddened to announce her passing on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 two weeks after her 100th birthday, January 18, 1921. Phyllis welcomed and embraced every addition to her family. She is survived by her brother Bill with his wife Marg; by her children Marilyn with her husband Jack and Rick with his wife Bonnie; by her grandchildren Kristin; Scott with his wife Alison, Paul with his wife Marci; and by her great grandchildren Amelia, Emmett and Nate. Also by her many nieces and nephews who maintained a close connection with their much loved aunt.
Phyllis was predeceased by her beloved husband, Tony; her mother Antoinette; her father Benedict and her brothers Victor, Alf and Ben; and her dear friend Bert.
Phyllis spent 73 years of her life on Belsize Drive, a part of Toronto that feels more like a village. All the shop owners knew her and neighbourhood gatherings on Bert’s front porch and Phyllis’ back patio were always filled with lively conversation, shared tables and laughter. While the street is now changing, those relationships have endured over the years.
Phyllis’ was a life well and fully lived. She was a life long learner, very intelligent, creative, always curious and determined to be independent and strong during times when that was not always easy. In her ‘empty nester’ years, she signed up for university courses. She also worked as an attendance counsellor in a local high school where she always championed the student and worked to help them get a good education. Phyllis valued her Lithuanian heritage and, in her 80’s, she wrote a book that described its profound influence on her life and on the lives of her parents.
In her last few years Phyllis struggled with dementia and, true to her curious and determined nature she tried to make sense of and articulate what was happening to her ‘broken brain’. Her openness deepened our knowledge and understanding of this devastating illness. During this time, Phyllis developed a deep friendship with Johanna her care worker who quickly earned Phyllis’ trust, provided wonderful care and soon became a treasured member of the Cooper family.
Our deep appreciation to the staff at The Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, Ontario. They honoured Phyllis’ determination to simply be her independent self with sensitivity and caring.
Phyllis will be missed by family and friends alike. She leaves us all with wonderful memories and stories and a legacy to each of us to, like her, always strive to be and do our best.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held for Phyllis as soon as it is safe to do so.