CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM-CLEVELAND-Ohio-Longtime Cleveland community activist Alma Cooper died Sunday, May, 22 after a long illness. She was 93-years-old and one of 16 full siblings, a three-fourths of whom have passed on.
Veteran Cleveland activist Ada Averyhart, 83, Cooper's only surviving sister, said in an interview yesterday that she moved to Cleveland in 1952 from her native town of Brownsville, Tennessee where she and her siblings were raised because she was following Alma.
"Alma was the best sister in the world, and she died on my birthday," said Ada Averyhart." She will be missed."
Visitation is Friday, May 27 from 5pm-7pm at the Wanton-Horne Chapel of Peace Funeral Home, 12519 Buckeye Avenue in Cleveland.
The wake is at 10:00 pm on Saturday, May 28 at Providence Baptist Church, 12712 Buckeye Road in Cleveland, with funeral services following at 10:30 am.
Alma Cooper, by all standards, was a change agent, and an exemplary community servant.
"My mother lived a life of significance and we are proud of the change that she helped bring about," said her daughter Janice Turner Riley.
"She was fair and committed and she did not discriminate against the powers that be when fighting for the community," said Turner Riley.
Cooper was a homemaker who began her career later in life and retired from the homestead department for the Cuyahoga County auditor's office. She was a longtime resident of Cleveland Ward 6 and a former precinct committeewoman who served on numerous community boards, including the Buckeye Community Congress, and for the East End Neighborhood House. She was in the trenches with local community activists for decades on community issues, including the Cleveland police killing of Michael Pipkens, the controversial 1980s Art Feckner case, and relative to voting and other Civil Rights matters.
Feckner was White and a big time cocaine dealer on the city's largely Black east side and activists and Black community leaders were upset that police and FBI authorities allegedly allowed the drug sales to prosper as part of a sting operation.
Pipkens was killed in December 1992 by two Cleveland police officers, Michael Tankersley and Jeffrey Gibson, who put the 23-year-old Black man in a choke hold following a car chase on the east side of town.
The Pipkens killing gained notoriety and unleashed community protests. It also heightened tensions between police and the Black community, tensions that are still in existence today.
Retired Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals judge Sara J. Harper, also a longtime Cleveland NAACP affiliate, told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper, that Cooper was a religious woman who was dedicated to her family and the community, and that she was "a calm activist."
Cooper remained active in the community until illness slowed her down. She is preceded in death by a son, a husband, and siblings, and survived by three grown children, Ernest Turner, Janice Turner Riley and Tracy Cooper, four siblings of Ada Averyhart, the Rev Thomas Averyhart, Dr. Willie Lewis Averyhart, and James Henry Averyhart, 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and a host of stepchildren.
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