The Coffs Coast Advocate

Oldest lady passes away

COFFS Harbour's oldest resident, 105-year-old Lillian Alda Cooper, died peacefully at St Augustine's Nursing Home on April 7.

The daughter of engineer John Fitch and his wife, Jane, Lillian was born in Balmain on July 29, 1903, when the main transport was the horse and buggy.

Her thorough education as a boarder at St Mary's Convent in Wollongong, where she learned everything from music and exquisite needlework to shorthand, typing and bookkeeping was to stand her in good stead.

Her first husband, Thomas Pryce, was swept off rocks while fishing at Fingal Rocks near Tweed Heads during a picnic at Fingal Rocks in 1927.

Lillian, who was seven months pregnant and had a three-year-old son, was forced to become a single working mother at a time when many women did not work at all.

She battled with men for work during the Depression, but her fast typing and shorthand speeds ensured she was never out of a job, working in a variety of offices including the Repatriation Department in Sydney and the Department of the Prime Minister in Canberra.

In 1962 she married Edwin Cooper, who died in 1972.

She worked full-time in a secretarial job until she was 75 and only retired then because they found out her true age. Her family says her hands were always busy with crochet, knitting or sewing and she was a dab hand at crosswords until recently.

She moved from Sydney to Sapphire in 1995 to join her daughter, Nola McGovern

Lillian saw the introduction of many things that most of us take for granted, like radio, telephones, movies, television, x-rays, antibiotics, vacuum cleaners and washing machines.

She has eight descendants.

Lillian is survived by her daughter Mrs Nola McGovern, Nola's daughter, Sandra, Harry's son, Stewart, and four great grandchildren. Her son Harry predeceased her. • Lillian Alda Cooper: July 29, 1903 - April 7, 2009.

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