Topic: Hubert and Edith Cooper
This is an outline of the lives of Hubert and Edith Cooper and their descendants. It was written by their daughter, Gretta Louisa Binet (nee Cooper) on 3 February 2007.
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We are here today at 41 Island View Rd, Karaka, home of granddaughter Yvonne Wood, nee Binet, her husband, Geoffrey Wood and children Michael and Rachelle. This property is very close to Oaklands Rd where Hubert Cooper's parents lived for the last years of their lives.
In 1892 Hubert James, son of Charles and Louisa Constance Cooper was born in Opotiki. The family consisted of four sons and two daughters. Hubert, with a brother and sister, followed their father and became schoolteachers.
In 1893 Edith Margaret, only daughter and second eldest child of John Thomas and Catherine Ann Aspden, was born in Rotorua. The Aspden family worked on the land and later founded the Aspden Shipping Company in Auckland.
In 1910, Hubert, a young school teacher of 18, went to teach at Matapouri in Northland where he boarded with the Aspden family for 21/2 years, teaching several of the younger Aspden boys and developing a friendship with Edith who he later married.
When the Aspden family left Matapouri to live in Auckland, a large house was bought in Mt Albert for the family of seven sons and one daughter. Two sons had died in infancy.
Hubert and Edith married in the Mt Albert Presbyterian Church in January 1915 and left to set up a home in Glen Massey where Hubert was then teaching after leaving Matapouri. Their first child and only son, Ivan Ewart, was born in 1916 and eldest daughter, Alma Edith in 1918.
After a short time teaching in Cambridge, Hubert was transferred to the Katikati Central School. Joyce Aspden was born in 1919, Gretta Louisa in 1922, and Katherine May in 1924.
Hubert was Headmaster at the Katikati School for ten years when he felt he needed a change from teaching for health reasons. He had already bought a dairy farm of 100 acres, which adjoined the School House property and was near the township of Katikati. The family all attended the Katikati School for Primary and High School educations.
Ivan later went to Seddon Tech in Auckland and the Agricultural School at Ruakura near Hamiton for a short time. He did not like farm work so took up employment at Radio Limited in Auckland.
Alma stayed home to help with the housework and later worked at the Katikati Post Office on the telephone exchange.
Joyce went to Auckland for dress making lessons and Gretta took a Hairdressing Course at an Auckland College.
Kath had two years at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland before training in Wellington to become a School Dental Nurse.
At the end of 1939, Ivan left New Zealand for World War II, serving in North Africa. He returned home in 1942 after a below knee amputation due to shrapnel wounds. He was by then a married man having met his Scottish bride, Agnes Burr, in Alexandira where she was a graduate teacher at a Scottish School for girls. They were married in Cairo in 1941 and later made their hom in Auckland.
When Ivan had recovered from his leg amputation after being in hospital several times, he went to work for the Auckland Artifical Limb Centre and was later transferred to the Christchurch Limb Centre as Manager. Ivan and Agnes had three sons. Neill and Douglas were born in Auckland and Alan, the youngest, in Christchurch.
Ivan's untimely and tragic death by drowning in 1971 at the age of only 55, was a great loss and shock to all the family and his many friends. Ivan was fishing with his Uncle Albert Aspden, in the Rakaia River. Fishing was a sport both Ivan and his uncle enjoyed very much.
Alma met Noel Lansale, a young man from Wales, who had come to New Zealand with his mother and sister to find farm work and start a new life. His father had passed away several years previously. Alma and Noel were married in March 1946 and worked and lived on the Cooper farm in Katikati for four years. The family then moved onto their own dairy farm in Waihi. Alma and Noel worked very hard developing their property. Dulcie and Rita were both born in Katikati and David in Waihi. Alma died in 2001 and Noel in 2002.
Joyce married Elkin Carey in 1940 after meeting him in Auckland while she was dress making for his Aunt. They farmed at Puni near Pukekohe, where Alison and Desmond were born. Several years later they left for another farm in Te Puke where Gordon and Gayle were born. Joyce, being a talented seamstress, started a very successful clothing business in Te Puke. When they left the farm, Joyce and Elkin moved into a Motel, which they owned at Paengaroa, just south of Te Puke and they managed it for a number of years. Elkin died in 1991 and Joyce in 2005.
In November 1946, Gretta married Grenville Binet in Auckland. Grenville had returned from World War II in 1945. They had met before the War through Ivan and Grenville being the best of friends when working together at Radio Limited, not knowing then that they were to become brothers-in-law and remain life long friends. Grenville also worked at the Auckland Artifical Limb Centre and later became the Auckland Manager after Ivan moved to Christchurch. The Binet children, Lorraine, Yvonne and Raymond were all born in Auckland. Grenville had been retired for 10 years when he died suddenly in 1987.
Katherine, the youngest of the Cooper children, was also known fondly as Kath. While working at the Matamata School as a Dental Nurse she met Ewen Merry who was a tacher there. They were married in August 1950 and their two sons, Clive and Nigel were born in Matamata. Ewen taught in several Bay of Plenty schools as Headmaster, finally building their retirement home in Otumoetai, Tauranga where Ewen still lives. Kath died in 1998.
After the Cooper children were all married and had left Katikati to live their own family lives, Hubert and Edith sold the farm, bought a small property across the main road from the original farm house and built their retirment home. Hubert Cooper was for many years an active member of the Katikati community. He sometimes took a service at the Presbyterian Church where all the family had attended and Joyce, Alma and Kath were married. Hubert was a School Committe member as well as serving on the St John's Ambulance and Domain Boards. He had considerable involvement in the development of the Bowentown Domain, growing and planting many native trees. He was also a member of the Tauranga Hospital Board, for a number of years.
In 1965, when Ewen and Kath were at Pyes Pa School, the families met to celebrate the happy occasion of Hubert and Edith's Golden Wedding Anniversary. It was probably the only time the extended family was together.
After suffering a stroke at the age of 79, Hubert passed away on 4 July 1971 in the Waihi Hospital.
Edith Cooper later moved from Katikati to Waihi where she bought a house not far from Alma and Noel, who did so much for her in the last years of her life. The other families helped in caring for Edith when they were able. In her latter years, Edith's health deteriorated and she was confined to bed before she died.
Edith was a hard working capable, very economical and healthy person. She would not buy anything that she could make herself and would offer advice and help to friends and neighbours whenever she could. At 80 years of age, Edith was still mowing her lawns mainly because she thought no one else could do them well enough to please her.
Edith passed away in the Waihi Hospital on 12 June 1988, in her 96th year, outliving her husband, her only son Ivan and son-in-law, Grenville Binet. She was a good mother, grandmother and great grandmother and will not be forgotten.
Some of the Cooper family descendents and family friends have come together to share memories and to celebrate the 85th birthday, on 5 February 2007, of Gretta Binet, the one remaining one of Hubert and Edith's five children.
Ivan's wife Agnes, is still with us aged 91 years as well as Kath's husband, Ewen Merry aged 90 years.
Apart from the sad things that have happened over the years, many amusing incidents will be remembered.
God bless those in the family who are still with us and remember the ones who have passed away.
3 February 2007
by Gretta Louisa Binet (nee Cooper)
This page was archvied at perma cc April 2017 https://perma.cc/98mq-n9ef