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ETSU remembers Besse Brown Cooper
Start Date: 12/6/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 12/6/2012End Time: 11:59 PM

Event Description:

The East Tennessee State University community is very saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs. Besse Brown Cooper on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at the age of 116.

Prior to her death, the Sullivan County native was the world’s oldest person. The alumna from East Tennessee State Normal School’s Class of 1916 taught at schools in Tennessee and Georgia. She and her husband, Luther Cooper, whom she married in 1922, had four children, and she named her son Sidney for Sidney Gilbreath, who was president of East Tennessee Normal during her years at the school.

Mrs. Cooper wore her class ring faithfully through the years, twirling it on her finger so much that all the markings had been worn off by October of 2009, when it had to be removed due to swelling. Her original ring now resides in the President’s Office of East Tennessee State University, and ETSU officials presented her with a new ring in 2010, which she wore on a necklace.

Besse Brown Cooper embodied the spirit of East Tennessee State Normal School, with her love of life and learning and her quest to teach generations of young people and help them to improve their lives. She will be greatly missed.


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