Emily Janet (Robinson) Coopwood, born the morning of June 14, 1931 in Gary, Indiana at 2121 Jefferson St. on National Flag Day, lived her early years during the depression. Her parents were Walter Robinson and Mary Ruth (Brown) Robinson. Her mother was born in 1903 in Augusta, Ga and father was born in Buford, NC. Her Grandmother Connor was an entrepreneur in the early 1900’s. Even during that time of segregation, she owned a home and a small business. When Emily’s Grandmother Connor’s husband died, she sold her home and business and moved to Evanston, Il. In 1915, Emily’s grandmother and mother settled in Gary, Indiana which was a mixed steel mill area of town that used horses and buggies for transportation.
Emily was the youngest of four children. Her parents’ first-born daughter died at an early age. She lived her life with an older sister, Hardina and brother, Walter. Her father, who was very gentle, quiet, and a great dancer, died when Emily was 7 years old. Emily lived a great life growing up even after her father died. She attended Roosevelt School, the only school for blacks in Gary during that time, from kindergarten through 12th grade, graduating in 1949.
The change in Emily’s life journey began with the death of her brother Walter. Emily met and married her husband of 67 years in 1950 and they had six children. She attended Purdue University and became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1955, retiring her license in 2010. Emily currently lives in Woodbridge, Virginia where she continues to spend time with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Emily’s compassion for children is reflected in her continued giving to organizations that help poor and disadvantaged children throughout the world.