By Dan Yount
The Cincinnati Herald
Minette Cooper, who was a former Cincinnati Vice Mayor and longtime City Council member, passed away peacefully August 9, 2021, at age 73. She had suffered from multiple scleroses (MS) in recent years.
Ms. Cooper, a Democrat, was first elected to council in 1995 on her first run for City Council. She served until 2003, holding positions as Vice Mayor, Finance Chair, Health and Human Services Committee Chair, and Economic Development Committee Chair.
She was instrumental in helping the city heal and move forward after the civil unrest in 2001.
Former Mayor Dwight Tillery, who served as mayor five years when Ms. Cooper was on council, said he found her to be a person who did things because it was the right thing to do, rather than for show.
“Minette ranks at the top of outstanding women in public service,” he said. “However, because she was a person who was not in front of camera or on the radio that much, people did not realized what she did for the community.”
Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Gwen McFarlin remembers her as a “true friend,” who helped pave the way for dozens of women, particularly women of color.”
Ms. Cooper, a North Avondale resident and former teacher, was an inspiration and mentor to many, say those who knew her.
She received her Masters of Education at Xavier University in August 2008. She earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Howard University.
While on City Council for six years, she was a champion for youth, economic development, and neighborhood empowerment.
She also was a small business owner — Chief Consultant at Cooper and Associates — and lived in Cincinnati since 1975.
Her board service included the Cincinnati Museum Center, Salvation Army, NAACP, North Avondale Business Association, and the Woman’s City Club.
“We will miss Minette Cooper for the tireless service to our community,” commented Renee Mahaffey Harris, President and CEO of The Center for Closing the Health Gap. “I met her because she wanted to run for City Council. I saw her passion and fight for our City’s children and families. I managed her four successful Cincinnati City Council races, as she fought for our City in only the way she could as a mother, teacher and community leader.”
Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece noted Ms. Cooper was the second African American woman to be elected to City Council and the first African American woman to be re-elected and appointed chair of the Finance Committee.
In other comments.
“From educator to vice mayor to mentor, Minette Cooper lived to serve our community, and she undoubtedly made an everlasting impact,” tweeted Mayor John Cranley. “She was a true public servant champion of youth and friend to many. Minette will be greatly missed,” said Mayor John Cranley, who served as a council member with Ms. Cooper.
Ms. Cooper’s family includes children, Emmet Jr., Curtis and Minette.