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Pamela Jane Cooper

Posted on Monday, December 18, 2023 at 11:56 am

Pamela Jane Cooper, 70, departed this life and entered her eternal home on Friday, December 15, at Vanderbilt Medical Center after a long illness. Visitation will be at First Baptist Church on Wednesday, December 20, at 10:00 am until 1 p.m. followed by the Celebration of her life at the church at 1 p.m. Bro. Jeff Rasnick will officiate. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens.

Pam was born January 25, 1953, in Shelbyville to Finis (Bud) and Martha Jane Renegar. She is a graduate of Central High School and also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University. She was an elementary school teacher in the Bedford County School System from 1975-1991.

While in college, Pam was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to autoimmune hepatitis. Despite that chronic illness which was incurable and progressing, she continued to teach and to parent for sixteen years as her health slowly declined. Then, in 1991, her liver failed, and on August 4, 1991, Pam received a donated liver at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center that saved her life. She believed that God had saved her life for some special purpose. That purpose was revealed in the fall of 1997 when she answered an altar call to start a crisis pregnancy center in Shelbyville. On January 11, 1999, First Choice Pregnancy Counseling Center opened its doors for the first time. Under her leadership as the center’s executive director, the center grew in its menu of services and built and paid for its ministry facility at 1102 Madison Street. She never enjoyed dealing with the business and top management side of things, so she stepped down from being its manager in 2009. Thereafter, she thoroughly enjoyed working exclusively in the client services arena at the center where she served part-time until October of this year when her final illness occurred. It has been her joy to see the center continue to grow and thrive with an even wider array of services.

In the days of the Covid shutdown after many discussions with Pam, her husband answered a call to start a private Christian Academy. She supported and counseled him and others in that endeavor and was a charter board member of the academy. Her great Godly wisdom and encouragement shone through as the academy was born and welcomed its first classes of students this past August.

Despite a succession of nagging chronic illnesses that sprung from her years of liver disease and remained even after her transplant, she believed she was very blessed by God and made it clear that Jesus was her very best friend and Savior. So, she continued to serve Him faithfully in various ways. She served as first grade Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church for many years until the very week of the stroke that disabled her on October 10. Pam was kind and caring to everyone she met, but had the toughness, courage, determination, and fierceness about her that served her well as she pushed on to live a productive life despite her health challenges.

She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who loved taking care of her family. She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Barry Don Cooper of Shelbyville; a son, Terry Don Cooper, of Wartrace; and a daughter, Arenda Jane Groves of Madisonville, K.y. She has a brother, Michael (Carla) Renegar of Prattville, Ala.; a sister Jackie Renegar Tune of Brentwood, Tenn.; and a sister Gloria (Keith) Ensey of Christiana, Tenn. Grandchildren include Alexandra Jane Downey and David Blake Downey of Madisonville, K.y., Delaney Ann Cooper of Tullahoma, and Maddox Don Cooper of Wartrace. She also has a brother-in-law Gary (Terri) Cooper of Nashville. She is also blessed with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to her parents, she is pre-deceased by her grandparents, Milton and Jennie Renegar and Jack and Gladys Snoddy.

In lieu of flowers, Pam would be honored by a memorial contribution to the First Choice Pregnancy Center Unborn Memorial fund at 1102 Madison Street in Shelbyville, or to the Cooper Christian Academy Building Fund at PO Box 6, Shelbyville, TN 37162.

Honorary pallbearers include staff, volunteers, board members, and clients of First Choice Pregnancy Counseling Center.

Doak-Howell Funeral Home is serving the family.