Mary Cope

Mary Cope, 105, of Onaway, died Saturday August 19, 2017 at Tendercare Health Center in Cheboygan where she had been a resident for 10 years. The daughter of Rocco and Helen (Shiskau) Perry, Mary was born August 5, 1912 in Ronco, Pennsylvania. On October 27, 1931 Mary wed Samuel Cope in East Detroit and in 1942 they moved to Onaway.


Working as a licensed practical nurse, Mary was employed at Russell Memorial Hospital in Onaway for more than 32 years. Her first retirement was in 1988 but she returned to work at the hospital when her nursing skills were needed.  She loved her work and was very good at it. With her years of experience in the nursing vocation, many times other nurses looked to Mary for her wisdom.

Strong in her Christian faith, Mary was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church in Onaway. Mary could be called the original “American Picker.”  She had a longstanding garage sale with items she came across or picked up at other sales. She had an eye for a deal and a knack for repurposing. Mary was well-loved by her many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren who have fond memories of her and her wonderful cooking. Rarely using a recipe, she knew how to use spices and combine ingredients to prepare the tastiest dishes. Mary enjoyed spending time with her family and leaves an amazing legacy with 62 descendants.

Surviving Mary is her son, Jetre (Ann) Cope of Onaway; daughter-in-law, Katrina Cope of Santa Cruz, California; sister, Helen Arygila of Fresno, California; 62 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.  Mary was preceded in death by her husband in 1968; her son, Sebon; daughter-in-law, Alice Cope; four brothers; and two sisters.

Visitation was held at the United Methodist Church in Onaway Tuesday, August 22, until the time of the funeral service. The Rev. Carmen Cook officiated.  Mary’s final resting place is at Hillcrest Cemetery in Onaway.

Those planning an expression of sympathy in lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Onaway United Methodist Church.  Condolences may be shared with Mary’s family at