The Liberty County Board of Commissioners recognized Neloweze Williams Cooper with an official proclamation last Thursday.
Commission Chairman Donald Lovette read aloud the proclamation at the start of the board’s mid-month meeting.
Cooper, who celebrated her 100th birthday Nov. 23, was born in Jefferson County. She earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the Georgia State College for Colored Youth, which now is Savannah State University.
Cooper came to Liberty County in 1938 after marrying Evans B. Cooper. The couple settled in Cross Road, a small community just west of Riceboro, where they both were employed at the Liberty County Training School.
In 1960, Cooper became the first Liberty County educator to earn a Master of Science in library service, which she received from Atlanta University. Throughout her career, she served as librarian for Riceboro Elementary, Bradwell Elementary and Liberty High School, as well as reference librarian for then-Savannah State College.
Cooper later became the founding director of the Riceboro Pre-School Learning Center.
Following a career in education that spanned over 60 years, Cooper retired from the Learning Center in 2008 at the age of 94.
“It is very, very, very rare that we get to highlight someone’s 100th birthday,” Lovette said.
“I’m just wondering why she retired so early,” Commissioner Pat Bowen joked.
After being presented with a plaque and a gift bag, Cooper offered a word of thanks to the commission.
“I hope all of you will live to become 100 — and if you keep on breathing, you will,” she said with a smile. “I thank you for all of this that you’ve done for me, and I’m glad to be here in the presence of all these good people. Thanks for everything.”