Laura Cowan Cooper

Laura Dianne Cowan Cooper, age 60, of Kodak, TN, passed away in Somerset, KY, on Thursday, January 21, 2009.

Laura was well known in the East Tennessee area as a genealogy researcher, consultant, and instructor. Although not a church member, she was the chief family history volunteer at the Sevierville Family History Center of the Mormon Church for over 12 years. She was a Board Member and Treasurer of the Sevier County Heritage Museum.

Laura was esteemed by thousands of genealogists whose lives she touched throughout North America and Europe. Surnames she personally researched include the following: Cowan, Cooper, Pearson, Buchanan, Thomas, Gregory, Quarles, Rice, Stewart, Walker, Kepley, Turner, Hall, Savage, Connell, Worrock, Willis, Byrn, Hoke, Hogan, Peay, Cabaniss, Woods, Scott, Breckenridge, Silver(s), Ward, Goodrum, Campbell, Duncan, Parker, Pitman, Mercer, Harper, Dingle, Luther, Householder, and Lewis.

Laura was the daughter of the late Emmett Gregory Cowan and Marjorie Buchanan Cowan. She was born and grew up in Johnson City and was a graduate of Stark High School in Stark, FL. She received an Associate Degree in Engineering Technology from Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC and worked as a laboratory technician for several chemical companies.

She is survived by her husband, David A. Cooper of Kodak; her daughter, Andrea Tracey Savage of Knoxville; her son, Gregory D. Worrock of Nashville; her sister, Linda C. Cabaniss of Shelby, NC; her niece, Lynn C. (Matt) Myers and grand-niece, Kylie Brianne Myers of Greensboro, NC.

Family will receive friends at Stevens Mortuary on Monday evening, January 25th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a graveside service at Greenwood Cemetery on Tuesday, January 26th at 11:00 a.m. The Reverend Arthur Heldman officiating. As an alternative to flowers, friends may wish to make a memorial contribution in her name to the Sevier County Heritage Museum, 167 Bruce Street, Sevierville, TN 37862.

A Tribute from a Fellow Researcher

Terry Cowan posted the following eulogy on the Cowan genealogy discussion list at Rootsweb on 22 January 2009. It echoes the sentiments of many, many people who have posted on-line tributes to Laura.

"It was a shock to learn last night of Laura Cowan Cooper's death. We have corresponded for years and years, it seems. Laura was the ultimate go-to person for any Cowan researcher, regardless from line you descend. And I really leaned on her to explain all that DNA stuff. We finally met this last summer, at a reunion in North Carolina. Her health was not good then.

"Laura and I are actually of the same Cowan line--she descended from Henry, son of John, and I from William, son of John. Last week, I discovered the maiden name of Henry's wife (Varner), and fired-off an email to her. When I didn't hear back, I knew something was wrong.

Laura and I corresponded at length as our particular Cowan DNA group came into sharper focus (i.e., not related to Hugh Cowan or the other Cowan immigrants; immigration directly from Scotland and not Northern Ireland, etc.)

"At this time, I am struck by how much we Cowan researchers all depended on Laura. I never envisioned this project without her. She leaves a tremendous legacy. From now on, Cowan genealogists will be referencing the work of Laura Cowan Cooper. She was the best type of researcher--meticulous and professional and with a good sense of humor, able to put this 'thing we do' in proper perspective. We will miss you, Laura."

A Personal Memorial from Billie McNamara

Oh, Laura ~~

I still can't believe you're gone! I can't look at anything in my new house without thinking of you, because you were there when I found many of the "treasures," or you and David gave them to us.

I also can't look at a black-and-white cow, or blue willow, or clowns, or cut glass, or silver, or Christmas decorations, or even the mountains without thinking of you.

We had so much fun! I am grateful for every moment of your too-short life that we spent together, either in person, on-line, or on the phone.

OMG -- genealogy research adventures won't be nearly as rewarding unless I can share the challenges and finds with you. I'm actually kinda jealous, because now you know the answers to all your great mysteries. I just wish I could hear your new stories!

Who am I gonna chat with in the wee hours about life, preserving heirlooms, canning, gardening, furniture, collecting and selling our stuff, the challenges of de-cluttering your bonus room and my garage, or so many things I can't even begin to list.

Your friendship was a precious gift, and I will miss you more than I would have imagined possible. Remember to keep an eye out for my ancestors and send me pointers...

And, while you're looking down on us from your new perch, please keep an eye on my Prayer Baby. I know how special she was to you and how much she adored her "Auwa."

Godspeed, my dear friend. I'll listen for you in the quiet times, and I'll look forward to seeing you again one day.

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