Charlene Mae Cooper, 64, passed away on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle, WA. She was born in Olympia, WA on December 21, 1948 to Wilson W. and Sarah L. (Miller) Johns. Charlene attended the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma, South Puget Sound Community College, Olympic College and Bellingham Indian College. On October 21, 1989 she married Arnold Cooper Sr. in Olympia, WA.
Charlene began her working career as a Community Health Representative, then as a lead clerk at the Kamilche Trading Post and most recently as a Cultural Resource Technician II for the Squaxin Island Tribe. She was passionate about her position, interviewing elders of the tribe to be saved in the archives of tribal history. Charlene was a member of the Shaker Church. Her hobbies included: collecting native baskets, Elvis Presley and Coca-Cola memorabilia and native Indian dolls. She was the inspiration of the tradition of the Cedar Rose corsages given out at tribal services. She enjoyed cooking, especially for family holiday, garage and yard sales. Her family described her as being the glue that held the family together, compassionate, and big hearted, a great wife and mother and a person who gave above self. One of her biggest loves were her grandchildren, especially her daughter, Nicole’s and son’s baby boys, Adam J.E.B. Jr. and Treyson and her concern for the Elders of the Squaxin Nation.
Charlene was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Wilson W. Johns Jr.; and son, Wilson Neal BlueBack. She is survived by her husband, Arnold Cooper, of Kamilche; daughters, Rose Boggs (Cody), Nicole Cooper, Angel Johns all of Kamilche, Alexandria Cooper of Shelton; sons, Nicholas Cooper, Alan Cooper, Gene Cooper, Rusty Cooper, Tom BlueBack, and Chauncey BlueBack (Karen) all of Kamilche; stepfather, Herb Johns of Kamilche; brothers, Issac Johns (Babe) and Sunny Johns of the Skokomish Nation; sisters, Elizabeth Yeahquo (Conrad) of Steamboat Island, Ruthie Whitener (Andy) of Shelton, Sarah Johns of Kamilche, and Iladee King (Jerry) of Shelton; twenty-two grandchildren, three great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A service will be held at the Squaxin Island Gym in Kamilche on Friday, December 30, 2011 at 11:00am.