Helen Cope, a Founder of CEC, has passed
Helen Marie Adolph Cope
(Courtesy of the Pal-Item)
Richmond, Ind. – Helen Marie Adolph Cope, age 95, of Richmond, died peacefully at Friends Fellowship Community on Sunday, December 13, 2015.
She was born on April 10, 1920, in Jinan, China (Shandong Province) to the late William H. and Katharine Witmer Adolph. Helen’s father was sponsored by the Presbyterian Mission to teach and research biochemistry and nutrition at Shandong University. Helen’s mother was a nurse with the mission. Helen spent her first seven years in China.
In 1927 her family came to the United States for a sabbatical year at Yale University and due to the Chinese Civil War they spent another year at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Helen and family returned to China in 1929, this time to Yenching University in Peking (later Beijing), China. Helen spent two years at the Calvert Correspondence Boarding School and then attended Punchow School until her senior year in high school when the family moved to New Haven, Connecticut on sabbatical. There, Helen attended New Haven (Hillhouse) High School from which she graduated in 1936.
When her family returned to China, Helen enrolled at Mt. Holyoke College, from which she graduated in 1940. She spent summers working at camps in Silver Bay and Lake George in New York. In 1940 she began graduate school at Cornell University, working on a master’s thesis. She spent 1 year at Cornell, then a year working at Mills College in California. In 1942 she returned to Ithaca, New York, where she met a local biology student at Cornell, James Cope. They married in 1944. They moved to Maryland where Jim, a conscientious objector, was working for Civilian Public Service during his alternative service during World War II.
In 1946, Helen and Jim joined the Earlham College community. The couple soon found a 28 acre farm near Centerville, 5 miles from Earlham College, and began rearing a family of five children. Helen worked in the science labs at Earlham in the early years, and then managed a huge garden while staying home with her young children. She later taught science classes for 14 years at Centerville High School.
In 1992 Helen and Jim established the Cope Environmental Center on the family farm. This organization has become a successful and a vibrant part of the Wayne County community. Helen’s interest in alternative energy and sustainability spawned an energy emphasis at the Cope Center. This culminated in breaking ground on April 10, 2015, for a sustainable environmental education center to house the programs and visitors.
After Jim’s death in 2002, Helen moved to Friends Fellowship Community. She was well known for her daily walks around Friends Fellowship community and her friendly, cheerful, and joking demeanor with the nurses and residents.
Helen loved the summer heat of Indiana, maintaining and managing her vegetable garden and her flock of chickens. Ruthlessly practical and committed to the environment and the wise use of the land, Helen was an inspiration to many students, the staff of Cope Environmental Center, and many others in the Community for her hard work and commitment.
Helen is survived by her five children, June (Walt) Chidester of Richmond, Eddie (Caroline) Cope of Ithaca, New York, Marianne (Bill Buskirk) Cope of Richmond, Marie (Rich) Nicholson of Centerville, Indiana, and Trish (Ron Griffin) Cope of Brookeville, Maryland; sister, Dorothy Scirocco of Mesa, Arizona; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, James Cope; parents; and two brothers, Will and Ernest Adolph.
There will be no public visitation. A memorial service will be held in the future. Arrangements are being handled by Doan & Mills Funeral Home, 790 National Road West, Richmond.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Cope Environmental Center, 4910 Shoemaker Road, Centerville, Indiana 47330.
Condolences may be sent to the family via the guest book at www.doanmillsfuneralhome.com.
Posted by Cope Environmental Center on Thursday, December 17, 2015