Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TING AND I, Tribute to Tina Su Cooper from Christopher B. Cooper

Dr. Christopher B. Cooper is our much-loved youngest brother. Our age difference, sixteen years, almost puts us in two different generations; his delightful wife, Nicola, is young enough to be our daughter.
Their two bright and handsome sons, Matthew and William, are young enough to be our grandchildren. Chris took time out from a hectic schedule to write up his personal recollections about Tina and me:

The reader can certainly appreciate that, because I am sixteen years younger than Doug, his early life, and even his time at Cornell, were effectively unknown to me. My earliest impression of Tina Su was probably as a preteen, when it appeared that my oldest brother was occupying his time/life with a range of activities (e.g., the U.S. Army, Penn State, Harvard, sailing on the Charles River) seemingly, in a sense, to fill the void left by Tina’s absence from his life. In 1972, when Doug was about to marry C, it was clear to me that she was more or less a surrogate for The One Who Got Away. I’m sure that to Doug and her at the time, a lifetime of marital bliss seemed inevitable, but there never seemed to be the same sparkle in Doug’s eyes when referring to her as there ever was in his description of, and longing for, Tina Su. As much as he certainly cared for, admired, and respected C, he loved Tina.

My first true recollection of Tina would not come for another ten years or so, after Doug had “found” her once again. I can remember meeting Tina in 1983, a year before I was to return to graduate school in California, having worked for a couple of years back on the East Coast. Her kind and gracious manner was–and remains–a trademark of hers, and I could immediately appreciate what Doug found so appealing as well. Upon returning from California four years later, I got to know Tina considerably better. Over the last two decades, I have come to know Tina as my sister-in-law, as Doug’s wife, and as Phil’s and Ted’s mother. She always made me feel welcome and at home during my visits to their home in Bedford Hills or in Millwood, New York and, later, in Ramsey, New Jersey. She also continues to laugh heartily at Doug’s jokes (to the point of literally bringing tears to her eyes)! This should not be taken lightly, as Doug has a way of cranking out copious “gems” and “less-than-gems,” and yet Tina seems to find them all hilarious! It is all very endearing, which, for me, perhaps summarizes my impressions of Tina.

A gracious, loving, endearing lady who has brought immeasurable happiness to those who know her best.

What may not be well recognized is that Tina has always made my wife, Nicola (a native of England), feel more at home within the Cooper family, as Tina had spent some time in England following Cornell. We would often retrieve voice-mail messages from our home phone whenever Tina had “found” one or another English TV programs/specials that she felt would be of interest to Nicola, and even though we may not have taken her up on each and every viewing opportunity, it’s still true what they say: “It’s the thought that counts”!

In recent years, while her physical abilities have one by one been taken away, Tina has always expressed her love and concern for me, my wife, and my children. We all love Tina very much, and we feel blessed to have this time with her.

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