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Death of John Cooper's widow

Sep 05, 2007 06:36 PM
by gregory

Shirley Cooper, the widow of the eminent Theosophical historian, John
Cooper, died recently.

Historians of Theosophy of this generation and generations to come owe a
debt to her that will inevitably remain largely unknown and unrecognized.

She was the loving support enabling John?s theosophical history research,
and the practical and well-grounded touchstone that kept John?s feet
firmly planted in the real world. After John?s death she meticulously
preserved his library and archives, and with an extraordinary generosity
and concern for future scholarship donated them to the National Library of
Australia, ensuring that they will be preserved and protected, and be
accessible to future generations of researchers.

Shirley dealt with the madness and malevolence of the many Theosophical
extremists who invaded her life with generosity, grace and good humour. In
the period immediately following John?s death, her pain and sadness was
exacerbated by attempts by one Theosophical organization to bully and
intimidate her as it sought to misappropriate John?s work on the
correspondence of Madame Blavatsky. One individual, apparently lacking
morals, manhood or basic human decency, particularly harassed her. Yet
Shirley seemed incapable of anger, even in her distress. She was, rather,
saddened that anyone could behave in such a way, and could not understand
why some others, supposedly friends of John, failed to intervene.

Shirley?s unassuming and entirely unpretentious nature often meant that
her inner strength and depth of insight went unrecognized. She was an
accomplished artist in pottery and weaving, an energetic worker in the
community in which she lived, and, after John?s death, a hard-working
farmer. Shirley embodied all the theosophical virtues, while being
disinterested in any theosophical doctrines

Dr Gregory Tillett


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