Madam Sirleaf Eulogizes Former Chief of Protocol -Describes The Late Amb. Eleanor Cooper a “Patriot” Worth Emulating

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Whenever a loved one passes, the toll of remembrance is oftentimes weighty. But weightier still and even heart-wrenching is when the deceased is not only close to one’s heart, but is someone with whom one has worked with for over a decade of your professional life – someone who has shared your inner thoughts, travails and moments of highs and lows. The passing on June 6, 2020 of Ambassador Harriet Eleanor Cooper, former Chief of Protocol to the office of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has indeed left an indelible mark and a whirlwind of emotions for many, but for Madam Sirleaf, there are mostly remembrances of a dutiful, upright, loyal and patriotic Liberian whose commitment to professionalism always superseded any other human frailty that might have occasioned the deceased’s earthly sojourn. With glowing words Madam Sirleaf has succinctly captured below the true essence of Mrs. Harriet Eleanor Cooper’s worthiness in her befitting tribute.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: “I was blessed to know Ambassador Harriett Eleanor Cooper and to have had her work closely with me at important points in my political life.  She had an exceptional sense of duty and was one of the most loyal persons that I have known.

“Eleanor will be remembered as one true patriot who loved Liberia. Much of what she did was out of love for our country and her desire to help its people, particularly young people. All of us owe some of our successes to others and Eleanor was one who left her imprint on many lives, many in this church and others listening in.

“She did many things behind the scenes, without fanfare and without seeking recognition.  I am only now learning some of the things that she quietly undertook to do, with an attention to detail and with dedication. In the early days of my first presidential campaign, she took on the registration process for all the candidates of the Unity Party. When her mother became ill she tried to continue the task, until Ambassador Eddie Dunn stepped in to take over.

“I grew to value her counsel – her titles of Appointment Secretary, Deputy Chief of Protocol and eventually Chief of Protocol in my office, while showing my trust in her, were not the full measure of her work and the values which we shared.

“My 12 years of presidency were not the easiest, given the context in which we began. Eleanor was always there, steadfast and of course always stylish, elegant and graceful. As we worked “together during the campaign, during the presidency and after, she and some others became a team and indeed family – celebrating the successes and squaring our shoulders one more time, when it seemed that so much more effort was still required.

“She and my sister Jennie shared a special bond and I speak for her as well today. Also for Euphemia Brewer-Fasama, Ethel Holt-Toles and the Late Bobbin McClain with whom she worked as my core team. You will be truly missed Eleanor, by the entire Ministry of State staff and employees.

“During her illness, we were in touch with her frequently and along with so many others, we prayed for her recovery. God had a different plan. Like the bible says, he takes pleasure in the death of his saints.

“Eleanor perhaps never knew how much I valued her. Although I commended her many times. We have a tendency to wait until someone has passed to speak about their good deeds and contributions. Perhaps it is a reminder to all of us to show gratitude, love and support whilst one is alive.

“To her sons and family, I pray that God will comfort you for this great loss. May her soul rest in perfect peace.”

Life sketch
Ambassador Cooper, who died at her residence at Mamba Point on Saturday, June 6, 2020, was the daughter of the late Honorable Robert Taylor and the late Madam Maude Pennoh Taylor. She grew up in Monrovia with her siblings: the late Mrs. Pearl Burnett Baker and Mrs. Adah Taylor Clarke, and attended Demonstration School on Clay Street before being sent to England and later the United States where she completed her education. In 1969, while in the United States, she married Francis B. Cooper, an electrical engineer who, upon their return to Liberia, served as Managing Director of the Liberia Electricity Corporation.

Eleanor Cooper was Student Counselor and later served as Vice Principal of the W.V.S. Tubman High School in the Monrovia Consolidated School System. Leaving WVST/MCSS, Mrs. Cooper founded her own educational institution, Foundation House, in the family residence off Tubman Boulevard in Oldest Congotown. More than 800 kindergarten and pre-school children received their educational foundation from Teacher Eleanor Cooper’s Foundation House.

As was the case for many Liberian families with young children, the civil war in the 1990s forced Mrs. Cooper to seek refuge away and she returned to the United States with four of her sons to settle there temporarily until the war ended. While in the U.S. she worked as a vocational and employment program coordinator for Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC). In 2002, she was promoted to the position of Director of CSAAC’s Vocational and Employment Program.

Mrs. Cooper returned to Liberia during the transitional years to help consolidate the peace. She joined the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Campaign Team and travelled all over the country with the then Presidential Candidate Ellen Sirleaf to win the hearts and minds of Liberians to vote for Madam Sirleaf to become Liberia and Africa’s first democratically elected female President. Serving initially as Appointment Secretary of Madam Sirleaf, Mrs. Cooper later became Deputy Chief of Protocol in the Executive Mansion and later Chief of Protocol with the rank of Ambassador.

After the death of Ambassador Cooper, the family has set up a Foundation Scholarship Fund in memory of Ambassador and Teacher Harriet Eleanor Cooper. The Fund will support needed children in pre-school and kindergarten. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, sympathizers and well-wishers may contribute to the Fund.

Contributions can be made to Mr. Himien Cooper via E-Mail:  HYPERLINK “mailto:hecooper22212@gmail.com” \t “_blank” hecooper22212@gmail.com and Ms. Sharon Cooper via E-Mail  HYPERLINK “mailto:sjayecoop@yahoo.com” \t “_blank” sjayecoop@yahoo.com.

Funeral & Interment of Ambassador Harriet Eleanor Cooper
The Family of the late Ambassador Harriet Eleanor Cooper, former Chief of Protocol of the Executive Mansion during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has announced that a Solemn Mass and Celebration of Life of the deceased will be held today, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The body will be removed from the Stryker Funeral Home on Tubman Boulevard at 8:00 am and the services will take place at Trinity Cathedral, 33 Broad Street in Monrovia at 9:00 AM. Interment will follow at the Jacob (Jake) Samuel Milton family cemetery in Upper Caldwell, Montserrado County.

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