Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Elizabeth Cooper Mike of Ypsilanti, Mich., and formerly of Kimball died April 17, 2009. She was 91. Services were at 10 a.m. Friday, April 24, at First United Methodist Church in Ypsilanti, with Rev. Melanie Lee Carey and Rev. Rey Mondragón officiating. Burial was at Highland Cemetery. Mary Elizabeth Cooper Mike was born Jan. 24, 1918, in Kimball to Bailey and Lyda Cooper. She was the oldest of 11 children. She attended Kimball schools and graduated in 1936, attending the University of Minnesota for one year before marrying Peter Mike in 1939. She and her husband moved to Ypsilanti in 1941 before Elizabeth finished her degree. While raising four children, Elizabeth worked in a factory and as a reporter for a daily newspaper, and for the New York-based Fairchild Publications, a daily trade publication. Elizabeth had her own byline which specialized in features and human-interest stories. In addition, she was president of the PTA, active in all elections, and was treasurer of the United Methodist Women at her church. At age 47, she returned to school to finish her degree and she earned both a B.S. and M.S. in teaching from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, graduating Magna cum laude. At 53, she began teaching at Cheney Elementary School in Willow Run and retired at 70. During that time, she was president of the education association union for Willow Run School District; she marched for civil rights in Ypsilanti and Chicago, and marched in Washington, D.C., for the National Organization for Women. Mrs. Mike was present in Kimball to receive the American Education Week (A.E.W.) Achievement Award Oct. 23, 1972, in ceremonies at the Kimball Area High School and the Kimball Elementary School. Among her many volunteer efforts after retirement, she became involved in the Boys and Girls Club where she held the office of secretary; local president and held state offices for the Optimist Club; local chapter president of the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority; and a member of the Business and Professional Women's organization. She is a founding member of the new Ypsilanti Public Library, and was instrumental in fundraising for the library. She became a major donor designating funds for a children's hands-on play area. Always an avid reader, she became a short story writer and won several honors for her stories. At the Turner Geriatric Center, she taught seniors how to write stories of their lives. She was a member of the University of Michigan Geriatric Writing Group. For 10 years, her short stories were published weekly in the Ypsilanti Courier Newspaper. At age 90, she published two books of her short stories. Elizabeth is survived by her children Karen (and Maynard) Leigh, Peter Cooper (and Carol) Mike, Joyana (and Arthur) Sills, and Robin Mike (and Jerry); nine grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. Six of Elizabeth's grandchildren were pall bearers: Michael Leigh, Stephen Mike, Adriane Simons, Matthew Mike, Logan Mike-Patridge, and Emily Simons. Organist was Ron Miller. Arrangements were by Janowiak Funeral Home, Geer-Logan Chapel.