Irene Cooper, of Harwich, age 82, died on April 1, 2019 due to throat cancer.
She was born in Yonkers, New York, on December 5, 1936, the oldest child of Abraham and Esther Cooper. Her father was brought to America from Russia in 1904 by his father, Morris Cooper. After finding a job and an apartment, his father brought his mother, Sarah Cooper, over to America. Irene’s father, being the oldest child, had to leave school before graduating to help support the family. Her mother was born in America, the oldest child in an immigrant family.
Although neither of Irene’s parents were able to go to college, they made sure that their children did. While attending Hempstead High School (NY) in 1954, Irene earned a competitive scholarship from Hofstra College (now Hofstra University) in Hempstead, NY, where she earned a bachelor of business administration degree in 1958. After moving to Connecticut in 1961, she earned a Master of Science degree from Central Connecticut State College (now Central Connecticut State University).
She married Seymour J. Mund in 1957 and divorced him in 1985. Their two daughters, Susan Elaine Mund and Mindy Lorraine Otis, survive her, as do her grandson, Andrew Harrison Otis, and her granddaughter, Sarah Cooper Otis. She is also survived by her brother, Richard Cooper, and her sister, Judith Lee Tenzer, as well as her partner of 24 years, Charles (Charlie) M. Wilson, of Harwich, AKA The Tool Doctor.
While living in Connecticut, she opened Word Wise, the first word processing service in Avon, and built it into a thriving business. She also taught business subjects at community colleges and a private business school.
When her two daughters were teenagers they became very interested in horseback riding. (There’s a family legend of her grandmother Sarah, who caught and tamed wild horses on the Russian steppes). So Irene located a 6-acre parcel of land for $13,500, very inexpensive for West Simsbury, Conn. and proceeded, without any architectural training, to draw up blueprints for a new house and to act as general contractor during its construction. She also painted, stuccoed or applied fabric to the walls instead of wallpaper, and tiled kitchen and bathroom floors.
She retired in 2002 and she and Charlie moved to Harwich. After completely rehabbing their home, she had the time to garden (became a Master Gardener) and get involved in The Sampson Fund For Veterinary Care, which raises money to help pay veterinary bills for dogs and cats whose owners can’t afford it on their own. She came up with Plants For Pets, combining her interest in animals and gardening. In its eight years of existence, Plants For Pets has raised tens of thousands of dollars.
There will be no funeral service. Memorial donations may be made to The Sampson Fund For Veterinary Care, P.O. Box 1756, Orleans, MA, 02653.