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School 14


Shirley M. (Illers) Cooper

September 23, 1934 ~ July 21, 2018 (age 83)

Shirley M. Cooper, 83, of Marble Hill passed away Saturday, July 21, 2018, at Life Care Center in Cape Girardeau.

She was born Sept. 23, 1934, in Cape Girardeau County to Henry A. and Nina M. Wicecarver Illers. She and Gary N. Cooper were married June 16, 1957. They had been married 18 years, when Gary passed away July 23, 1975.

Shirley earned a master of arts in education from Southeast Missouri State University and taught music over 45 years at Woodland School in Marble Hill, retiring in 2003. 

She was dedicated to community service and was the first mayor when the communities of Lutesville, Missouri, and Marble Hill merged. 

She was a charter member of the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation and was active in the local General Federated Women’s Club, serving as state president from 1976–1978, and also serving in national capacities. In 2005, she became a member of Chapter DJ PEO in Jackson, serving as chapter president from 2011-2013. She was a charter member of Beta Gamma Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa of women educators, serving over 53 years. She also participated in numerous other clubs and organizations and was a member of the Lutesville Presbyterian Church in Marble Hill.

Loving survivors include a son, Kevin (Melissa) Cooper of Marble Hill; three grandchildren, Katrina D. (Michael) Gonzalez and children, Zachary D. and Benjamin D. Gonzalez, of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Kathlyn A. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas, and Keegan M. Cooper of Maryville, Missouri.

She was preceded in death by her husband and parents.

Visitation will be held Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m., at McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson.

The funeral is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m., at the funeral home, with the Rev. Tom Bass officiating. Burial will follow at Jackson City Cemetery in uptown Jackson.

Memorials may take the form of contributions to Chapter DJ PEO, Box 321, Jackson, MO 63755, or GFWC, 1734 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-2990

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

Donations may be made to:

General Federation of Women's Clubs GFWC
1734 N Street, NW, Washington D.C. DC 20036-2990
Tel: 1-202-835-0246

PEO Chapter DJ
Jackson MO 63755

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