Virginia Cooper was born to Jerome and Emma Cooper on August 14, 1941 in San Diego California. Virginia was a precocious and only child until her younger sister Cyndae was born when Virginia was 17 years old. Virginia took piano lessons from age 3-18 and became quite an accomplished player. She loved all forms of music and was able to play multiple genres with the piano and organ. One of her favorite songs played on the piano was Clair de lune by Claude DeBussey
Virginia grew up in San Diego, attend private schools from grades kindergarten through ninth grade until she earned the privilege, from her parents, to attend the high school of her choice, San Diego High School. Virginia was very passionate about the human condition, race, social class and radical change. After graduation from high school in 1959, she went on to attend San Diego State University majoring in sociology. In addition to being an excellent student at the university, Virginia also led a very active social life. One evening while at a party she noticed a very handsome young man. She convinced one of her girlfriends to leave the party with her to follow him, leaving their dates behind. They quickly lost sight of him when he took a bus. She told her friend she was disappointed that she did not get to meet the young man.
In 1960, Virginia’s hopes regarding the young man from the party soon came to fruition when to her surprise, he visited her home with some friends of hers from college. She learned he was the U.S. Marine stationed in San Diego, his name was Niles Edwards Stokes. Virginia and Niles hit it off as friends and courted for a while. They were married on March 31, 1962 in San Diego. Virginia worked for General Dynamics with their aerospace program while Ed continued to climb in military rank. They made San Diego their home and shortly thereafter, started a family resulting in two children. Niles Jr. (Little Eddy) followed by Alison.
When the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war escalated, it caused Ed to be sent to Vietnam several times. With two small children, Virginia moved closer to her parents in San Diego, right next door in fact. While there, Virginia would stay engaged in world events, reading and watching the news. She was very interested in social change, the Black Panther party and civil rights. During this time, she would have many visits from Jehovah’s Witnesses. She rejected them all thinking it was a “white man’s religion” and did not offer any hope for the disenfranchised. It wasn’t until 1970 when an old childhood friend of Virginia’s, Gene Johnson, who was now one of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to Virginia door with his fiancé, Lola. The encounter was a turning point for her; she listened to her friend and began to study the Bible along with her husband.
In her studies she learned Jehovah is not prejudiced, loves all races and has a solution for all of mankind’s problems. As she was progressing in her studies, Ed was given military orders to be stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Kailua, Hawaii. Virginia and her family would move there in November 1971. Before leaving, she promised her friends, Gene and Lola, that she would look up the witnesses resume her studies. Ironically, she didn’t have to wait very long, it turns out the very next day after arriving in Hawaii. Ed’s new boss, Arthur Hoskins invited Virginia to meet his wife Helen who was one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Virginia started studying the Bible immediately and their lifelong friendship began.
Virginia loved learning about Jehovah through her studies and progressed to her baptism in the beautiful Kailua Ocean of Hawaii on May 27, 1973. Virginia loved the friends she made in Hawaii and was sad to leave them but Ed was now being stationed back on the mainland. In 1975, they eventually moved to Camp Pendleton in Oceanside.
Virginia along with her two children settled into the San Luis Rey congregation in Oceanside. Virginia was a faithful servant to Jehovah, always attending meetings and going out in service.
She was a wonderful cook, very compassionate about helping others and generous. In fact she could always be counted on to cook meals for those that were ill or prepare meals for Pioneer schools. Many can remember the huge and elaborate meals she would cook for family and friends and for the District Conventions at Qualcomm Stadium. It was a feast and there was always enough food to feed anyone and everyone wanted to stop by her car and pick up a plate. Everyone would rave about “Sister Stokes” cooking.
We will miss her loving and generous spirit. She always loved the promises found in the Bible and one of her favorite verses is found at Rev.21.4 “…And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will the mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
Virginia is survived by her husband, Niles “Ed”
Children: Niles Jr. “Eddie” Julie and Alison
Grandchildren: Erin and Tyler Johnson, Jordan and Janet
Great-grandchildren: Jayce and Josh
Sister: Cydnae Blue
Nephews” Richard Washington and Carlton Blue
Along with sisters through marriage and countless nieces and nephews.