Ruth Eileen (Merritt) Cooper

Ruth Eileen (Merritt) Cooper (better known as Eileen Cooper) passed away peacefully at home on January 12, 2024. No services are planned. She was born in Bonners Ferry on May 7, 1929, the daughter of Robert Franklin and Edith Irene (Clark) Merritt.

Eileen attended her first five school years at the Pine Grove School (now a bed and breakfast) on the Northside. The family then moved to Naples and she finished grade school there, after which she attended Bonners Ferry High School. She met her high school sweetheart there, Melvin Bruce Cooper.

She graduated high school in 1948 while Bonners Ferry flooded. She married Melvin on June 1, 1948, at the “Hitching Post” in Coeur d’Alene. They had three children; Steven Gale, Carol Lynn and Dennis Ray. They lived on Ruby Creek in the home Melvin built for them. In 1956, Melvin built another home on the South Hill in Bonners Ferry. She resided there until her death.

Eileen was always active in her children’s activities. She worked as a room mother for all three of her children in grade school, den mother for her Girl Scouts and Brownie leader for her daughter. Eileen worked for the American Cancer Society. She received her 25-year certificate for her work. Eileen was a Hospital Auxiliary member when it was first organized and put in her 100 hours. When Melvin was transferred to Spokane for his railroad job in 1983, she had to give up her membership. When Melvin retired, they returned to their home on the South Hill.

Eileen belonged to the DIYS Extension Club for many years, she was active in many craft clubs, she also belonged to the “Stamping Fools” greeting card club until her death. Her passion was bingo and playing cards with her many friends. Just say cards and she was ready. After Melvin’s retirement they traveled with friends and alone in their RV. She loved to camp and stream fish.

She delivered her first granddaughter in 1971 in the back seat of their speeding car on the way to the hospital.

She is leaving three grandchildren; Jon Paul Steffers, Kerri Lynn Dehn and Heather Cooper, daughter-in-law Luz Cooper and cousin Shirley Brooks.

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