We Remember

COOPER, Maria “Mary”

It is with the deepest sorrow that we share the passing of our mother, Maria “Mary” Cooper (née Friesen) on April 11, 2024.

Our Mom was born in Adelsheim, Ukraine in 1932. When WW2 broke out in 1939, her father was taken as a political prisoner of war where he eventually perished, leaving our grandmother, mom, and her six siblings to begin their journey to freedom. They spent the next few years finding ways to flee Russia, living in refugee camps and train box cars prior to arriving in Hanover, Germany where they stayed for a few years. Then with the help of the Red Cross and a sponsor family in Kelowna, BC, Mom and her family boarded a ship and began the journey to North America and arrived in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1947. Soon after, they travelled cross-country by train to Kelowna where their large family lived in a 2-bedroom house built by her Uncle Henrich, the house is still located at Clement Avenue. Mom needed to adapt to her new life in Canada, at the age of 15, very quickly.

Mom met Jack Cooper while working at a fruit packing house in the north end of Kelowna, and in 1963 they got married and raised their two sons, Richard and Colin. Mom and Dad enjoyed polka dancing and parties with family and friends. As a family we went on annual trips to the Shuswap and Vancouver Island salmon fishing as well as many local camping trips. Other trips included Hawaii, 2 trips to Disneyland, and Colorado to visit family.

The most important thing for Mom was family. She appreciated and did whatever she could for us with love.

You were never to leave Mom’s house hungry. There was always plenty to eat, from many different types of dishes, including many types of soups, baking, salads, and desserts. The German Plouse and Kuchen was always a favourite, made with the fruit of the season. There was also much fruit available, whether that be from the backyard fruit trees or from the stores and local farmers.

Mom was predeceased, by her parents, David & Anna Friesen; her husband, Gordon “Jack” Cooper; her brother, Vic Friesen; and her sisters, Helen Penner, Val Weibe, and Wanda Horkoff; as well as her nieces, Karen Milsted and Erika Tiessen. She is survived by and leaves behind her sons, Richard (Carmelle) and Colin (Kathy); 3 granddaughters, Ashley, Kayla, and Megan, and 1 grandson, Nathan. She also leaves behind 2 sisters, Annie Reimer and Katie Janzen; sisters-in-law; and many nieces & nephews.

Mom is now resting peacefully, together again with Dad, and she leaves behind a legacy of beautiful memories.

A very special thank-you goes to all the amazing caregivers and support staff at Sun point Village on Rutland Road in Kelowna. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

A Funeral Service, Celebrant Kim Bergstrom Officiating, will be held FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024, at 10:00 AM, at SPRINGFIELD FUNERAL HOME: 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC.  If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service (see below), a recording will be made available to view shortly thereafter.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area call “Condolences”.


FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024, at 10:00 AM


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Alzheimer Society of Canada Link: alzheimer.ca


Service Information

Service Details

The service for COOPER, Maria “Mary” is scheduled for FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024, at 10:00 AM. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:


2020 Springfield Road Kelowna, BC


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  • Carol Hawkes says:

    Richard, Colin and families, sincere condolences on the passing of your mom. I have vivid memories of your mom in her kitchen and garden. She was a fun Auntie. Our mom especially is truly heartbroken. So sorry for your loss. Carol Hawkes and the the Janzen family

  • Janet Ford says:

    Richard, Colin and families. I’m so sorry to hear of Aunty Mary’s passing. She truly had a heart of gold. I still talk about her amazing peach pies and the fun we had when she hosted my bridal shower. My boys still remember going to her townhouse and trimming her yard and how sweet she was to them.
    I’m sure uncle Jack was waiting anxiously for her so he could take her under his wing once again. Sorry I’m not able to attend her celebration of life, and I hope the memories you all share let you know how truly special she was. Sending you all a big hug.
    Janet and family

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