Church Honors Oldest Member

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

November 27, 2005

Nutritious eating and exercise have people living longer than ever, especially if they make it to be over 100 years old. One Charlottesville resident celebrated a very special birthday this week.

Her name is Bertha Cooper, born November 22, 1899. But she isn't 106 years old, she's 106 years young.

"Mom will live forever. She's has that type of attitude and that type of strength," said daughter Cynthia Cooper.

Zion Union Baptist Church celebrated the life of their oldest member.

"We love Mrs. Cooper and we certainly hope that Mrs. Cooper will have 50 more plus plus years," said Claudette Barlow of Zion Union Baptist Church.

She served on the Board of Deaconess for over 50 years and had various roles including Assistant Secretary and member of the Senior Choir.

"She's so precious, she's so bubbly, she's just so sweet. She is truly a worker for Christ," said Barlow.

She still works for the church even if she doesn't have a title.

"The church is just like a growing plant. If you water it and fertilize it, it will grow," said Mrs. Cooper.

She just celebrated her birthday and has advise to pass along to the young ones, advise her parents taught her.

"It's what you preach. You can't say one thing and then do another. Life isn't like that," said Mrs. Cooper.

Friends and family say Mrs. Cooper looks and acts young for her age and her daughter says she relies on her strength.

"Thank you mom, just for being strong. You're so strong. And she's still strong. When I fall apart, her strength is what keeps me going," said Cooper.

Mrs. Cooper was one of fourteen siblings and the mother of two. She is grandmother of four and great-grandmother of five.

The church gave her several things, including a plaque, flowers, and a cake.

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