Inez Odessa Miller Woods Cooper, a teaching assistant at the North Philadelphia middle school for a dozen years, an Air Force veteran and active churchwoman and family matriarch, died Saturday of a heart condition, 10 days before her 78th birthday. She lived in North Philadelphia.
Among Inez's many activities to better the lives of others was the founding of Diamonds in the Rough, an outreach ministry of the El Shaddai Christian Assembly.
"Through this ministry, she mentored girls, boys, men and women, aged 7 to 70," her family said. "She encouraged these diamonds to be men and women of excellence as wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and friends."
Inez joined El Shaddai in West Oak Lane, of which her son, Dr. James E. Woods II, was pastor, in the early '90s. Before that, she was an active member of Mt. Pisgah United Holiness Church and Mount Calvary Baptist.
For a number of years, she was an assistant chaplain at Methodist Hospital. She ministered to the elderly in nursing homes and served on the board of Women With a Vision.
Inez was born in Philadelphia one of the five children of Columbus and Carolyn Miller. She graduated from Kensington High School, then continued her education at the Levathan Business School. She enlisted in the Air Force and served stateside as a bookkeeper. While in the Air Force she met and married the late James E. Woods Sr. She later married the late Harvey Coper.
At Mount Pisgah United Holiness Church, she sang on the Young People's Chorus, taught Sunday School and served as assistant Sunday School superintendent.
"Inez enjoyed being active," her family said. "She did readings and attended church functions from the time she was a teenager."
At Mount Calvary, she was church secretary, director and teacher of the Vacation Bible School and Sunday-school teacher.
In later years, Inez attended the Jameson Bible School, earning college credits in religious studies.
She transported people to doctor's appointments as one of her regular activities. Her nephew Chris called her "Paratransit."
Besides her son, she is survived by two other sons, Clarence and John Cooper; a foster daughter, Esha Bing; a brother, Harvey Miller; a sister, Essie Powell; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Services: 11 a.m. Monday at Bethel Deliverance International Church, 2929 W. Cheltenham Ave., Wyncote.
Contact John F. Morrison at 215-854-5573 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @johnfmorrison.