A woman of beauty and grace, Marjorie Lee Jenny Cooper Kegel, 94, of Miles City Montana, died February 14, 2013. She was born to Frank and Anna Shogren Cooper on February 12, 1919, at Silver Brook Farm in Willow Creek, Montana. She was one of 9 children. Her father always said she was his “lucky charm”, because her birth brought the first profit his farm had ever made.
Marjorie was a very talented musician, playing piano by ear for school and church functions while she attended Willow Creek Schools. In 1936, she was voted Prom Queen as she was well adored by her friends. After high school, she attended Montana State College in Bozeman, obtaining her teaching credentials. She taught school in the small towns of Belgrade, Marsh, and Three Forks, Montana.
In 1942 she moved to Vancouver, Washington, where she worked for Kaiser Ship Builders, designing “baby flattops” for the war effort. It was this position that inspired her to enlist in the US Navy. She was stationed in Washington, DC, where she drew maps showing where the US fleet was during WWII. She said the Navy was a lot of fun!
In 1948, she moved to Cody, Wyoming, where she worked for the Bureau of Reclamation at Hart Mountain. It was while working here that she ventured to Miles City to see her sister, Betty, and met Arthur Kegel, an Agricultural Extension Agent just out of the US Army. They were married October 5, 1948. Into this union were born three children: Arlene, and twins Charles Brent and Brenda Ann.
Many will remember Marjorie as a kind and loving first grade teacher in Miles City, a position she held for over 30 years. She loved the children she taught as though they were her own, and they loved her in return. Her greatest accomplishment was teaching the little kids how to read. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teacher’s honorary, and a member of the NEA. She was also a life-long member of the First Presbyterian Church and made many long-standing friends in her Deborah Circle.
In retirement, Arthur and Marjorie traveled the world and also enjoyed time at their vacation home in Coeurd’Alene, Idaho, where they enjoyed many close friends and family. It was in Idaho that they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998, an event marked with family and celebration. Arthur died November 12, 1998.
Marjorie was an avid bridge player and belonged to many bridge clubs. Her greatest joy was her four grandchildren. She was fortunate to watch them grow up. She felt blessed to see all four of her grandchildren marry and took joy in getting to know each of her 7 great-grandchildren. She was well loved by them in return, and they affectionately called her “GiGi.”
She was preceded in death by her husband Arthur, son Charles, and daughter Brenda, as well as her siblings Jack Cooper, Betty Woodward, Constance Rowe, Scott Cooper, Leslie Holden, Mary V. Byrd, and Helen Green. She is survived by Arlene (J. Dennis) Corbin of Miles City, Damian (Shawn) Jenkins of Agoura Hills, CA, Casey (Hilary) Corbin of Moor Park, CA, Ashlie Sarah (Brian) Slunaker of Miles City, and Currie (Wendy) Corbin of Spokane, WA. She is also survived by her 7 great-grand children: Corbin, Jack and Samuel Jenkins; Scott and John Dennis Corbin; and Josephine and Arthur Corbin.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made in Marjorie’s name to the Miles City Public Library Children’s Department, 1 South 10th Street, Miles City, MT 59301.
Private family services will be held. The family will be greeting all who wish to visit on Saturday, February 16, from 2-4 pm.