We are sharing sad news on the passing of our longest serving legislator, the Honorable State Representative Barbara Ward Cooper (93 years old), in the state of Tennessee and probably the Southeast or national regions who transitioned last week after a brief illness. The Transition Services are scheduled this week, November 5 and 6, 2022.

Barbara Ward Cooper was a professional educator who retired from the Memphis City Schools System and remained a life-long student. Adding to her Bachelor of Science degree, Masters of Education and 45 hours post Graduate in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University, she earned a Ph.D. in Religious Philosophy and Christian Psychology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.

Dr. Cooper’s commitment to education and civic duty began with her responsibilities as Community Relations Specialist for the federal Title I initiative. She was elected as the Representative for District 86, Tennessee General Assembly in 1996. Saluted by her colleagues as the oldest active state legislator in Tennessee’s history, Representative Cooper served 11 terms, and was seeking re-election on the November 8th General Election ballot. This respect is matched by the beloved many whom she served. Indeed, she became cherished by her colleagues, constituents, elected officials and fellow citizens as the walking personification and torch bearer of the civil rights era mantra “Unity In The Community” reflected in the daily tasks of the legacy she imprinted for many.

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