May 16, 1947 ~ September 28, 2002

Born in: USA,
Resided in: Candler, NC

Willa Ree Blankenship Cooper, 55, of Wise Road, Candler, died Saturday, September 28, 2002, at her home. A native of Candler, she was a daughter of the late William Horace and Helen Marie Stewart Blankenship and a member of Laurel Hill Methodist Church. After graduation from Enka High School in 1965, she began her career with Southern Bell as an operator. Working her way through various positions, she was one of the first female switchmen in this area and the first woman to hold the title of Central Office Foreman in this part of the state. It was a job she loved, perhaps surpassed only by System Administration before her retirement. Following an early retirement, she became an avid genealogy researcher attempting to assist many family members and friends with their searches, especially in the Yancey County area. She co-published an 1880 Yancey County census book and wrote many articles regarding the families that she researched. Her second love of retirement life was golf. She and her husband were able to visit many beautiful golf courses and have made many wonderful friends, especially in the Reems Creek and Cliffs Valley Golf Communities. She is survived by her husband, Wade Hampton Cooper; a daughter, Sherri Taylor of Candler; a son, Jeremy Shaun Taylor of Dayton, OH; two brothers, Robert Bruce Blankenship, Sr. and James William Blankenship, both of Candler, a sister, Rebecca Diane Worthy of Hendersonville and special best friends, Thomas and Susan Bodvig of Orangeville, IL, as well as other wonderful friends and extended Cooper family members claimed as her own. Funeral services will be 6:00 pm Monday in the Patton Avenue chapel of Groce Funeral Home with the Revs. Glenda Bramlet and John Erwin officiating. The family will receive friends following the service until 9:00 pm. Burial will be 10:00 am Tuesday at Cooper Family Cemetery in Burnsville. Pallbearers will be Bill Cooper, Gary Cooper, Steve Cooper, Paul Cooper, Kenneth Blankenship, and Bruce Blankenship, Jr. Honorary Pallbearers will be Microswitch Golf League Members. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mountain Area Hospice, PO Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813.

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  1. I have never known anyone with such strength and courage. My thoughts and prayers are with Willa’s family. She will be greatly missed.
    Denise Jenkins Haney

  2. Sherri, Shaun, & Wade:
    Lawrence and I wish to extend our sympathy and prayers to all of you. We know that Willa was the ‘glue’ of your family, but her love of life is reflected in each and every one of you. We feel that we were honored to know her through the activities of her children. Remember, when you look up into the night sky that there will be a new star giving us a glimpse of heaven.

    Stars are windows which were reflected in her eyes.

    Lawrence & Lorraine (Sensei) Lewis

  3. Willa was a great lady who always treated me like she had known me all of her life. I met her after becoming friends with Shaun in our senior year at Enka. Often, when I called or came by their house, Willa was always wanting to talk. She was like another mother to me, always offering an ear to my problems. Her warm smile and motherly nature truly blessed me in the time that I got to spend with her. To all of the family I send my condolences and I hope that you all recognize what a blessing you had in the time that God allowed her to walk this earth. She is with Him now and that is the most comforting thought I can share. The terrible affliction she endured on this earth is no more. Her body, in all of its weakness, is now strong and I just hope that St. Peter will let her play through!

    Chris Thurman and family

  4. Sherri;

    I am sorry to hear of your tragic loss. I will be praying for you and your family in the time of grief. If there is anything that I can do for you other than this, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Terry Mitchell

  5. We only had an opportunity to know Willa for a couple of years, but her ready smile and gracious manner no matter the trouble were an inspiration to us. Although we are unable to attend the services due to Karen’s surgery, our thoughts and prayers are with Wade and the entire Cooper Family.

  6. Willa will always be remembered for her sweet smile and kind and loving way. I know each of you will really miss her. She is to be admired for the couragious battle she fought with this cancer. Our sympathy, love and prayers are with all of you
    at this time. May God bless you and
    be with you in the days ahead.
    Martha Evans Maney
    The Felix Evans Family

  7. Dear Wade,
    It was with much sadness that we read about the death of Willa. We know you two were a special team. Your care for her during her illness was truly an example of a lasting love and Christian marriage. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    With Sympathy,
    Bill White and Family

  8. Wade I did not get to know Willa like I would have liked to have known her. But she was a very sweet and special lady and I’m happy that I got to meet her. You and your family are in our prayers and thoughts.

    Rosie & Charlie

  9. from retired bellsouth employee,who worked under Mrs Cooper..truly one of the finest and caring supervisor’s and one of the warmest and genuine person,i have or will ever know…our thought’s and prayers are with all her family and friends. rest in peace ..may christ’s warmth and caring be with you all forever…sincerely and god bless!..milton r heuer & family

  10. from retired bellsouth employee,who worked under Mrs Cooper..truly one of the finest and caring supervisor’s and one of the warmest and genuine person,i have or will ever know…our thought’s and prayers are with all her family and friends. rest in peace ..may christ’s warmth and caring be with you all forever…sincerely and god bless!..milton r heuer & family

  11. Wade,
    My words can’t begin to express my sorrow for your loss, and our loss of such an outstanding person. Willa will be dearly missed by all who knew her. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  12. Dear Wade: Our thoughts and prayers are with you in the loss of your wife, Willa. Your friends, Rick McCarroll, David Price, and everyone at McCarroll Construction.

  13. Willa was my cousin and I will never forget her courage and faith throughout her time of sickness. She was and is an inspiration to everyone. My prayers go out to Wade, her children, and her brothers and sister. Willa will be long remembered and loved.

  14. Our Deepest Sympathy to the families of Willa. We know that she will be missed by everyone.

  15. Dear Shaun,Wade and Sherri,
    We want to let you know how sorry we were to hear the sad news. We did not ever have the pleasure of meeting Willa, but have always heard wonderful things about her, and I have had pleasant conversations with her on the phone. Since you have been like one of our family for many years, Shaun, as one of Eric’s best friends, we just wanted to let you all know that you have been and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless and comfort you now and always.
    Kathy and Peter Johnson


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