Yvonne Young Cooper
The Lord is my light and my salvation (Psalm 27:1)
Born on September 17, 1947, in Charleston, South Carolina, to Lucy Crosby of Ruffin, S.C., and James Young of Oakley, S.C., Yvonne’s life was predestined for family and servant-leadership. Yvonne’s parents and grandparents, Johnnie and Luva Johns Crosby nurtured her deep commitment to faith and family.
Yvonne spent much of her young life at her grandparents’ home in Ruffin—enjoying life on the farm with her sister, Barbara (Bobbie), and cousin, Johnny (Boot). Yvonne was educated in Charleston County Schools and was a proud graduate of C.A. Brown High School. It was here that she met Chester Cooper, who she later married. From that union came two children, Chester, Jr. (Lil Rusty) and Michelle Asha. Rusty and Asha held the most significant pieces of her heart. She encouraged, supported, and widely shared news about everything they did.
Yvonne was involved in Rusty and Asha’s educational and extracurricular activities, serving as a volunteer and member of the Parent-Teacher Association of Mitchell Elementary School, James Simons Elementary School, A.B. Rhett Middle School, Courtenay Middle School, and Burke High School. She was active in the Burke High School Athletic Booster Club and Band Booster Club and traveled to every football game and band performance. She also supported activities at the College of Charleston, which was her daughter’s alma mater.
As Rusty and Asha expanded their own families, her heart tripled with endless love for her grandchildren— Justin, Alden, and Grace. They brought boundless joy and energy and ultimately gave her even more strength. In addition to her children, Yvonne took an active role in their friends’ lives and shared a deep, lasting bond with many, including Parrish Brown, Jr. and Tiffany Spann-Wilder.
Family meant the world to Yvonne, not just her kids but also her extended family. She and her sisters, Bobbie, Connie, Diane, and Ida spent countless hours together. She cared deeply for her aunts and uncles and shared a very close relationship with her cousins from the Crosby, Mingo, Robinson, Wiggins, and Young families. To her, the cousins were more like sisters and brothers. She would travel all over South Carolina and the Southeast to family gatherings—big and small—to share laughs and spend time with them.
Yvonne accepted Christ at a young age and was very active in both the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) Church and the United Methodist Church. For many years, she was a class leader, Sunday School teacher, Sunday School superintendent, and Women’s Missionary Society president at Shiloh A.M.E. Church. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she served as area chairperson for the Kingstree District Women’s Missionary Society. She traveled near and far to A.M.E. church district meetings, Sunday School conventions, and annual and general conferences. She was also active in Church Women United and the United Order of the Tents.
For many years, Yvonne attended Trinity United Methodist Church and actively participated in its community outreach program, devoting her Thursday nights to preparing home-cooked meals for the homeless, senior citizens, and other community members.
Yvonne’s commitment to God’s work extended beyond the walls of the church. She lived the life. Her home was a place of refuge for people needing a safe place to talk or seek comfort. She helped those in need of a second chance get back on their feet by supporting them through prayer and efforts to seek employment.
Yvonne was a licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.) and worked for 50 years, touching the lives of many people all across the South Carolina Lowcountry. Yvonne’s career as a L.P.N. started at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1967, followed by the Coastal Center for Developmental Disabilities, Driftwood on the Ashley Nursing Home, and South Carolina Health Department. Yvonne’s professional work also included Epworth Children’s Home and the Head Start Program for migrant children at Rural Mission, Inc. While she cherished her work and colleagues in all roles, her most treasured were Franklin C. Fetter, Florence Crittenton Day School, and the Charleston Area Senior Citizens Center.
At Fetter, she was the pediatric nurse to many families from Charleston’s Eastside, where she grew up. Through this role, she gave back to the community that had helped raise her. At Florence Crittenton, she was the nurse and health care manager to dozens of teenage mothers. Having been a teenage mother herself, Yvonne knew first-hand the importance of supporting young women during this critical moment. Even after her time at Florence Crittenton, she maintained close contact with many of the young women and their children—calling them her daughters and grandkids.
Yvonne retired from work in 2017, culminating her career with the Charleston Area Senior Citizens Center. This job brought much joy and happiness. She especially loved supporting the Meals on Wheels program, where she serviced families in Downtown Charleston, North Charleston, West Ashley, Hollywood, Ravenel, Meggett, Johns Island, Wadmalaw, Adams Run, and Edisto. Through her work with the Senior Citizens Center, she also served on the South Carolina Emergency Management Team, Task Force for Special Needs Population of South Carolina, Lowcountry Senior Network, and the South Carolina Aging in Place Coalition.
In addition to her family and service work, Yvonne’s other favorite thing was to travel. Her preferred mode of transportation was Amtrak and Greyhound’s Southeastern Stages. She knew the bus and train routes and schedules for every city in the Lowcountry. Because seeing them revived happy memories from her childhood in Ruffin, she would often go to the bus and train stations simply to watch them come and go. Although Yvonne would have been happy to travel everywhere by bus or train, she also traveled by plane, which allowed her to see much of the world. With her kids and grandkids, she traveled across the United States and internationally to Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.
For the last three years, Yvonne resided in Washington, D.C., with her daughter and youngest grandchild. Although she enjoyed Washington and learned to navigate the city by bus, she never hesitated to tell others—even strangers—that she was “from Charleston, South Carolina.” She loved Charleston and brought to D.C. her southern charm, culture, and collection of stylish hats. She also became a member of Campbell A.M.E Church and its Lucille E. Dale Missionary Society.
Yvonne shared so many gifts with this world, many of which have been bestowed to her children and grandchildren. She leaves them with her love of family and heart of gold. She leaves them with her sense of independence, love of life, vibrance, and commitment to service. And she leaves them with her sense of style, charm, and grace, plus so many memories and laughs.
To celebrate her life and continue her legacy are her children Chester Cooper, Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.), and Michelle Asha Cooper (Washington, D.C.); grandchildren, Justin Michael Cooper, Alden Ashley Cooper, and Grace Vida Cooper; sisters, Barbara Birds, Diane Green-Smalls, and Ida Mae Worix (all of Charleston, S.C.). She also leaves her daughter-in-law, Andrea Cooper; aunts, Alma Crosby (St. Petersburg, F.L.) and Joanne Kinard (Brooklyn, N.Y.); uncle, Manny Crosby (Bartow, F.L.); sister-in-law, Juanita Cooper Mackall (Prince Frederick, M.D.); brothers-in-law, Daniel Birds, Sr., Benjamin Heyward, and Carl Smalls (all of Charleston, S.C.); and an adopted mother – Nevada G. Heyward (Charleston, S.C.). In addition, Yvonne leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other children that she nurtured over the years.
Yvonne has joined the celestial ranks and has been reunited with her grandparents, parents, husband, sister, Constance Green Fludd, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
To those saddened by her absence, she would say, “if you live right, we will certainly meet again.”
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