Martha Cooper, wife of Rep. Jim Cooper, dies at 66 after battle with Alzheimer’s disease

Posted at 10:58 AM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 12:07:12-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Martha Hays Cooper, wife of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, has died after what her family called “years of struggling with Alzheimer’s." She was 66.

Rep. Cooper’s office confirmed her passing Thursday morning, saying she died peacefully at her home in Nashville.

She married Jim Cooper in 1985 after the two met in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Sweet Briar College in 1976 and from Mississippi State in 1980 with an M.S. in ornithology.

"An adventuresome soul, Martha smoked cigars in swamps to repel mosquitoes, made lifelong friends in Buenos Aires, taught children and studied Puffins for the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, protected Least Terns on Gulf of Mexico beaches, camped in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and worked the Galápagos Islands for World Wildlife Fund, all while keeping an African-Grey parrot named Baroot in her kitchen," her obituary read.

She is survived by her husband, three children, and one grandchild.

Due to COVID-19, the funeral service will be family only.