Shirley Cooper-Vowels, 80, Carthage

CARTHAGE,  NY — Shirley Cooper-Vowels, 80, Meadowbrook Terrace, Carthage, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at the Carthage Center for Rehabilitation, where she had been a resident since Oct. 2, 2018, following a series of strokes.

Shirley was born February 27, 1938 in Muncie, IN, the daughter of the late Charles R. and Lola L. (Reaves) Cotner. She was raised in Angola, IN, where she met Richard L. Cooper in the church choir. There were married on September 2, 1954. The couple moved to his hometown of Watertown, NY following his graduation from Tri-State College, where they raised their five children. The marriage ended in divorce in 1997. Mr. Cooper passed away Oct. 29, 2013, at Samaritan Medical Center.

Shirley married Clyde Vowels of Hammond, NY on July 21, 2000. They lived in Hammond, Sault Sainte Marie, MI and Watertown, NY. Mr. Vowels passed away on October 17, 2014 at Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Shirley was a stay-at-home mom for 18 years before beginning her career. She was employed by the Head Start program in Watertown and was a candy striper at Madonna Home, then an Occupational Therapist at Madonna Home and Ryan’s Nursing Home. She also worked as a fundraiser for the local Heart Association and was a teller at Key Bank, while continuing her education. She then become a rehabilitation teacher for the blind and visually impaired with the Jefferson County Association for the Blind and Aurora in Syracuse. She later returned to the Jefferson County Association for the Blind as the executive director, from which she retired in 1998.

In her earlier years, Shirley enjoyed sewing, making many clothes for her children. She also enjoyed cooking, reading, crossword puzzles, taking long drives in the country, dining out and watching TV, but her greatest accomplishment (according to her) was raising her children. She was a member of the Emmanuel Congregational Church and a former member of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority.

Shirley is survived by her children, Thomas (Jayne) Cooper, Lawton OK; Kimberly (Scott) Hutchins, Carthage, NY; Carolyn (Gerald) Hettick, Watertown, NY; David Cooper, Watertown, NY; and Jane Desrosiers, Groveland, Fl; 9 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren (and another on the way); a sister, Janie (Jerry) Falls, Fort Wayne, IN; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to both husbands, she was predeceased by her parents and a brother, C. Richard Cotner.

The family would like to extend our sincere thanks to the staff at Meadowbrook Terrace for their loving care for the three years that she resided there.

The funeral will be noon Saturday, Dec. 8, at Reed & Benoit Funeral Home, 632 State St., Watertown. Burial will follow at Brookside Cemetery. Calling hours will be 10 a.m. to noon prior to the service at the funeral home. A reception will follow at Emmanuel Congregational Church, Watertown.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Emmanuel Congregational Church, 119 S. Hamilton St., Watertown, NY 13601 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 120 Washington St., #419, Watertown, NY 13601 or the charity of one’s choice

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