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Marie Cooper (Williams)

January 23, 1938 - June 17, 2021


It is with a sad heart that we share the passing of Marie Cooper, nee Williams, June 17, 2021 at Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Marie was born to Harriette Isable (nee Clooten) and John Patrick Williams January 23, 1938 at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her sister Angela Teresa Johnson Jones, nee Williams was born December 26, 1939 also in Edmonton, Alberta. The family lived there for a short time moving to Vancouver, British Columbia in the early 40’s, there she grew up attending private elementary school and later graduating from Gladstone Secondary School in Vancouver. Her girlfriend who worked at IBM received permission for her friend to train after hours on the IBM machines as a key punch operator. This training gained Marie employment with Dairyland as the keyboard punch operator for their delivery routes.

She met her first husband David Smith in the mid 50’s, they were married in 1957 at St. Patrick’s Church in Vancouver. They lived in Prince George for a period of time later divorcing in 1963. During her time in Prince George, she worked for the City of Prince George compiling their property assessment rolls, she also worked after hours for two of the Unions compiling their membership lists.

It is in Prince George that she met the love of her life, her beloved Gerry. She tells a story about meeting him with a group of chums at a bar one night, he walks up to their table (he apparently knew one of the friends) and tosses some screws from his pocket on to the table and then flashed one his well know smiles at them and the goes off. Later when they were dating, he invited her to a steak dinner at his place if she would help him do some laundry. Well, it turns out that when Gerry ran out of clean clothes he just bought some more, he opened up the hall closet and it was chalk a block with laundry. Marie took pity on his plight and after an evening spent at the laundromat, Gerry knew how to launder his clothes. Gerald and Marie were married December 21, 1963 at Como Lake United Church in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada (they shared their anniversary with Marie’s mother, Harriette).

For a time, they managed a motel in Burns Lake, with many fun stories and friends met over the few years that they were the managers. This is where Gerry bought Marie her fur coat, they were the favorite stop over for the travelling salesmen’s and distributors for this region, so it happened that one of these salesmen was stopping over and gave him an excellent price on a new coat for his young wife. They also had a group of investors from Japan, travelling to inspect on of the mines in the area that they were investing in. It was quite an experience for these businessmen who had never been to the wilds of Northern BC.

They moved back to the Lower Mainland prior to 1965 and lived in New Westminster for a short time, then a duplex in Surrey, beside a lovely elderly lady, Mrs. Houet. They had two daughters, Alison and Wendy. About 1968 or so they purchased the family home in Surrey. Here they raised their two daughters, added on to their two-bedroom home, doubling its size in the 70’s. They hosted many gatherings with friends and family at their home over the 50+ years that they lived there.

They were such integral parts to each other’s activities that neither’s accomplishments were  done without the support of the other. They travelled all over British Columbia with Gerry’s work as a plumber/gas fitter in the construction trade often with many of their friends from Gerry’s work.

In the early 70’s they stopped moving around BC for Gerry’s work.  This is when they settled into become active and often vocal members of their community. They worked tirelessly for the Panorama Ridge Pony Club and Riding Club during their time with in these clubs, there was great expansion and securing of assets for the organizations. They attended Surry Council meetings regularly and Marie become such a familiar person at the council meetings that many a politician would sit up a little straighter in their chairs because inevitably she would present some point that they would need to be on top of. At one point Marie said to Gerry she could do better than some of those politicians. He said I’ll put up the money and you run for office. She ran with some of the great politicians of Surrey’s history, she never ran under a slate because she never wanted to be beholden to someone else’s agenda and always was independent of mind and standing. She ran twice for Alderman and once for Mayor, I came across one of her flyers from that time it was such a trip down memory lane for me. 30 years as a member of Surrey’s Board of Variance a large portion of that time as chair. She was known for her thorough researching of the cases put before the board and her knowledge of the codes and regulation that governed the housing construction. She again observed that she could build a house better than many contracts, Gerry once again said he would back her so she become a woman contractor in a male dominated world. She would tell the story of only hiring Gerry once as the plumber after that never again he was way to expensive. They built 7 homes in Surrey, all but one of them is still in existence today. She owned her own real-estate company for a time, it was located up in the Whalley area over some shops, Gerry would bring the girls to visit and they would get a treat from the store on the corner of the block.

As a family they went on many road trips throughout BC, the longest one being when Gerry’s brother’s family came over from England to visit, Emanual, his wife Shirley and their son Victor. 4 adults and 3 children in a green Ford Plymouth without air conditioning, oh how we travelled back in the day. Marie and Gerry took their family back to England on two extended holidays. Family was such an important part of both of their lives, they connected with many relatives there and maintained those connections up to their last days.


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