Helen Marie Cooper

Mar 16, 1937 - Jan 25, 2021

East Lawn Elk Grove Memorial Park
9189 East Stockton Blvd.
Elk Grove , CA, 95624


Helen Marie Glispie Cooper, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was born March 16, 1937 in New Madrid, Missouri to the late Hazel Blake Gillespie and John Henry Gillespie. Her parents passed away when she was very young.

Helen grew up in Chicago, Illinois and East St. Louis, Missouri. She was an out-going young lady who enjoyed school. While attending High School she met Airman James Cooper, an Air Force, Fire Fighter. They fell in love and were married in 1953. From this union their children Sharon, Gerilyn, James, and Kevin were born.

Helen enjoyed military life and the family traveled throughout Europe and the United States. Most notably they were stationed in Okinawa Japan and Verdun, France, before being assigned to Mather Air Force Base in 1965. They settled in Rancho Cordova, and raised their children in a close-knit community.

Helen can best be described as “wise beyond her years.” She was an attentive mother who instilled high values in her children. She was an exceptional homemaker; who enjoyed interior decorating, and keeping up with the latest fashion trends.

Helen worked as the first African-American Hostess at Posey’s Restaurant in downtown Sacramento. She furthered her career working payroll at the California State Capitol and later at the Sacramento Observer Newspaper. After retiring, she found her calling as a foster mother and Senior Companion for Sacramento County.

Helen attended Antioch Baptist Church and remained a faithful member.

Momo, as she was affectionately called, loved her grandchildren to the core. You couldn’t ask for a more supportive and loving grandmother, who was active in her grandchildren’s lives. They will always remember her love and the time they spent with her.
Because she lost her parents at an early age, she taught her children and grandchildren to always believe in themselves and to dream big.

Helen is preceded in death by her parents John and Hazel Gillespie; a son James Jr.; sisters Geraldine Gillespie, Mary Brimage; brothers Robert Gillespie, Reginald Gillespie, William Gillespie; husband James Cooper (J.C.), sons-in-law, Thomas Zeigler, and Dr. Morris Pleasant.

Helen is survived by daughters Sharon Pleasant and Gerilyn Zeigler; sons James Cooper (Kristen), Kevin Cooper (Samantha); grandchildren Shakira Pleasant, Kelly Pleasant (Renalyn), Jessica Cooper (Ebenezer), Jasmine Jones (Marquise), Alexis Cooper, Roman Shelton, Rachel Cooper, Anna Cooper; great-granddaughters, Ariana Jones and Adriana Jones; sister Charlene Dyson; and many nieces, nephews, family and friends.

“Rest in peace and power.”


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