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Coy Mae Hines Ward Cooper

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Coy Mae Hines Ward Cooper

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalms 139:16
You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book.

Bossier City, LA – Coy Mae Hines Ward Cooper, local businesswoman and trail-blazing civic leader, passed away on February 27, 2022, leaving an extraordinary life which was filled with hard work, laughter and amazing adventures.

Services will be at First United Methodist Church of Bossier, 201 John Wesley Blvd, Bossier City, Louisiana at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, 2022 with interment at Hill Crest Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive Tuesday, March 8, 2022 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

She was born in Mooringsport, LA on April 3, 1924 to Mary Emma Hucklebridge and Dan Hines. Coy’s stepfather was Harry Bonham.
Coy and her family followed the oil boom, settling in Welch, LA, where she graduated from high school at age 16. While there, she played basketball, was a cheerleader and on the Yearbook staff, and won the Jefferson Davis Parish Oratorical Contest. “Singing, dancing, and chattering is her diet,” according to her 1940 yearbook. Her first job (at age 15) was working for a lawyer, putting stamps on envelopes. When she didn’t do the job to his satisfaction, he made her cut them all off and re-glue each one. She has never put a stamp on crooked again. Her compensation? Fifty cents per hour – a fortune for a young girl.

Next, she worked at “Pat’s Café” in Welsh, feeding lunch to the oil field crews. Within a few months, Miss Pat made Coy ‘‘the boss’” and she ran the café until her marriage to John Lowry Ward, a petroleum engineer she met there. They moved with the industry until after their first child, Robert Lowry Ward, was born, and Coy returned home to live with her mother during her second pregnancy.

After the birth of John Harrison Ward, she went to work as a lab assistant at the Arkansas Fuel Oil Company in Bossier City, LA.
Later, first as a civilian, then as a WAC (Women’s Army Corp), Coy was assigned to the medical unit at the Harmon General Hospital in Longview, TX. Upon leaving the service, she took a job as a fiscal accountant for the Veterans Administration in Shreveport.

After the war, she and John Ward divorced. “John was a fine man. I was just too young to understand what marriage was all about.” Coy doesn’t believe in marrying young to this day.
She married George Cooper, superintendent of the Arkansas Fuel Oil Company, in 1946 and they enjoyed fifty years of marriage before his death. They lived in plant housing where Rusheon Junior High School is now before buying one hundred acres northeast of I-220 and Stockwell Road on what is now Coy Road. They leased another three hundred acres and raised cattle and boys.

“Raising our boys on the ranch was the right thing to do. They learned to work hard, and that experience has made them all good men.” One of her grandsons, Scott Ward, visited M. L. Leddy’s Boot and Saddle Makers in Fort Worth, TX several years ago and found they still had Coy’s boot measurements and copies of the orders for the boots they’d hand-made for her during her time as a rancher.
Coy worked as office manager and accountant for Shreveport Sash and Door Company, before becoming a part-owner. Later, she, Bruce and Donny Logan, and Nancy Barnett formed Builders Millwork. After a few years, they purchased and operated Bolinger Millwork and Supply Company in Bossier City. She also was a partner with Randy Wright in the J.R. Wright Construction Company.

Coy became involved in parish politics in 1981 when she was nominated as the first woman to serve on the Bossier Parish Levee Board by Louisiana State Representative, the late Walter Bigby, and appointed by the late Governor Edwin Edwards. An avid and energetic advocate for doing what was necessary to make sure that the levees were safe for everybody, she “walked all the darn levees, I’ll tell you that much!”

They cleaned up Loggy and Shell Bayous, working to ensure the levees would prevent flooding in areas where subdivisions sit now. She’s very proud of her work with the board because, “if this hadn’t been done, Bossier City would have suffered greater flooding and hardship.”

The Levee Board experience was just the first of her many civic accomplishments. Coy became the first woman on the Red River Waterway Commission and served as Treasurer and Financial Officer. When funding “‘dried up’” and the huge federal government project was in danger of not being completed, she spoke before Congress in March of 1991 to seek funding of $122 million for the lock and dam system on the Red River in Northwest Louisiana. The money was granted, and the locks and dams are in use today, bringing economic growth and development, riverbank stability, and flood control to our area.

Her accomplishments also include:
Instrumental in creating the Red River National Wildlife Refuge on the Arthur Teague Parkway, south of Jimmy Davis Bridge.
The only woman chairman of the Board of Directors of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation. As a member of this Foundation, she participated in the Bossier/Shreveport International Mission to Tokyo, Japan in 1989 to discuss trade collaboration.
Coy was president of the Industrial Bond Board. Bonds for $40 million were issued in 1979 to provide reduced-interest home mortgage loans. In 1992, outstanding bonds were refinanced, with a savings of $4 million, which was used to help construct the Arthur R. Teague Parkway. Chairman of the Federal Legislation committee for the Bossier City Chamber of Congress. Chairman of the Bossier Public Trust and Industrial Development Board.

Named as an ex-officio advisor to the Home Rule Charter Commission of Bossier City by late Mayor James Cathey in 1975, to represent women. This Charter, written and approved by the citizens of Bossier City, is “perhaps the most important document in the history of our city.” The structure created, a “Strong Mayor-Council Form of Government”, still governs Bossier City today. Coy and the late Judge Dewey Burchett were responsible for the sections on standard financial procedures and public affairs.

In 1994, she was honored with the Athena Award, given by the Business Development Connection of the Greater Bossier City Chamber of Commerce, only the second Bossier-ite to receive it. This award is given to women who excel in their creativity, wisdom, and initiative in business. The Shreveport Times of September 3, 1975, stated that Coy was one of three Bossier City women who proved, due to her business acumen that “more women need to be engaged in public affairs” which had historically been dominated by men.

Elected to the Bossier City Council as Member at Large in 1997, Coy assisted in: the CenturyLink Center; the Louisiana Boardwalk; the Benton Road overpass; the renovation of Old Bossier; Bossier Medical Center; the Viking Drive extension; the Arthur Teague Parkway extension; and many other smaller projects. “Some of the decisions we made while I was on the Council were controversial, but we did what we thought was right for the community and, in hindsight, many of our most difficult choices have made Bossier prosper. One of my main goals was to make Bossier City its own entity, to separate us from Shreveport. This group of council members was the start of it.”
Coy was a member of the First United Methodist of Bossier City since 1953. “My service to my church was just as rewarding as any honor I’ve received.”

She’s served as a member and chairman of the Finance Committee, Board of Trustees, and Endowment Committee, as secretary of the Administrative Board, and as Treasurer. “One of my biggest thrills was the seventeen years I served as Treasurer, especially during the move of the church from Ogilvie Street in Old Bossier to its present location on John Wesley Boulevard and Old Minden Road.”

Coy has sung in the Chancel and Circuit Rider Choirs for most of those sixty-five years and is a member of the Parker Sunday School class.

She feels that God guided her to make the final approach to her life by moving to the Bloom Assisted Living in South Bossier City. She has been very happy and loved the staff.

Coy would like to express her gratitude for the loving and competent care of her doctors, Dr. Turakhia, Dr. Cole, Dr. Nathan, Dr. Acurio, and to the excellent staff at Regional Hospice.

Coy is preceded in death by her parents and stepfather; first husband, John Lowry Ward; second husband, George H. Cooper; stepson, George H. Cooper, Jr.; and sisters, Betty Bonham Allen and Cherie Hines Harrison.

She is survived by sons, Jimmy Cooper, Robert Ward and wife, Linda, John Ward; nieces, Sharon Roy, Holly Harrison Waligura; nephew Hines Harrison; grandchildren, Melissa Solomon and husband, David, Kelly Bond and husband Trace, John Ward and wife, Lisa, Scott Ward and wife, Ellie, Michael Ward and wife, Tabitha; great-grandchildren, Georgia Bond, Matthew Bond, Jackson Greemon, James Halphen, Caleb Ward, Zachary Ward, Adam Ward, Madaline Pang, Ashley Ward, Jonathan Ward, Grant Solomon, Seth Carter and Meagan Pittman; and special daughters-in-law, Jane Cooper and Judy Shepherd. Also, special cousins Dr. John Hucklebridge and wife, Teena, Robert Hucklebridge, Donna Hoeft and husband, Jimmy Kelly, and Jody Guinn.

Honoring Coy as pallbearers will be her nine great-grandsons, Matthew Bond, Jackson Greemon, James Halphen, Caleb Ward, Zachary Ward, Adam Ward, Jonathan Ward, Grant Solomon and Seth Carter. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be four great-granddaughters, Georgia Bond, Ashley Ward, Madaline Pang and Meagan Pittman.

Special remembrance goes to The Parker Sunday School class, of which she was a member for over twenty years, the Souper Saturday volunteers, the Bloom Bell Choir, and the Bloom Beanbag Baseball members.

In lieu of flowers the family suggest that memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Bossier Helping Hands Ministries or the Organ fund, 201 John Wesley Blvd, Bossier City, Louisiana 71112.

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