Elisa D. Cooper, 47, of Berkeley, Calif., died June 21, 2017, unexpectedly in her home.

Elisa D. Cooper, 47, of Berkeley, Calif., died June 21, 2017, unexpectedly in her home.

Born Sept. 25, 1969, in Maysville, Ky., she was the daughter of the Rev. Lowell D. Cooper (deceased) and Paula C. Cooper of Lexington.

Ms. Cooper was a web specialist and digital publisher (independent consultant) and occasional writer. She was a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in New York where she was elected to the Student Senate, founded an archaeology club and was involved in workshop theater, chorus and the literary magazine. In her junior year abroad at Oxford, she focused on archaeology and history of science. She enjoyed singing in the Madrigals singing group. Back at Sarah Lawrence for her senior year, she received senior honors.

In 1992 she became a students at the University of California, Berkley, where she received her master of arts and continued in the doctoral program for history of science and European history. Before her death, she was ABD, University of California, Berkeley, and had hopes of eventually returning to school to complete her dissertation.

Although troubled with multiple issues in recent years, she had a full and active life. Ms. Cooper had been employed over the years for specific projects by large companies but in more recent times she focused on her independent consulting work. As a volunteer, she had assisted at nonprofit technical conferences, as well as Berkleyside’s annual ideas festival, “Uncharted.” She regularly commented in Berkleyside and edited a community newsletter, South Berkeley Renaissance. Along with others, she helped found the Berkeley Democratic Caucus in 2016 and was part of two other groups, “Friends of Adeline,” which met regularly to discuss community issues, and “Neighbors of 2901 Adeline,” a single-issue group advocating for community benefits from big developers. In June she reminded the zoning board that they were “supposed to negotiate the best deal for the community.”

Elisa Cooper was a consistent presence at important community meetings. In an article in the June 23 edition of The Berkeley Daily Planet, Carol Denney stated that Elisa did her homework: “ … she brought more than her own opinions with her so that her short observations were loaded with hard-edged information … she was among a small handful of activists whose public comments you knew would have nuggets of policy gold.”

On June 27, Mayor Jesse Arreguin honored Ms. Cooper by reading a proclamation by the City of Berkeley. A point he made among several stands out: “Elisa taught us valuable lessons about empathy, diligence and persistence.” He ended, “We will miss her dearly.”

She is survived by her mother, Paula C. Cooper of Lexington; a sister, Bethany R. Cooper and her husband, Joseph P. Futrelle of Falmouth, Mass.; Amy C. White and her husband, Charles M. White of State College, Pa., and their children Cara M. White and Levi C. White.

A memorial service was conducted in Berkeley on June 24, 2017. If you wish to make a donation in her memory, please sent it to PXE International, Suite 404, 4301 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 or go to www.pxe.org and click donate.


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