A few months back, Margarett “Peg” Cooper died 3½ weeks short of her 100th birthday. Her mind remained impressively supple to the end; invariably on top of current events, she could, with equal facility, discuss today’s world and memories from long ago. Her observations on the contemporary political climate often had a tartness punctuated by her frequent interjection of the word “stupid.”
I first met her in 1986 while embarked on an oral history project to interview the Navy’s first black officers. Her husband, George, was a member of that group, the Golden Thirteen. Over time, our relationship became a special one that transcended the initial interviews. The couple was endowed with such warmth and kindness that they became like a second set of parents. (I was far from the only person they adopted.) George died in 2002 at the age of 85. (See “Looking Back,” August 2002, p. 4).