A memorial service for Billie Best Cooper, 86, of Portales, NM, will be held at 10:00 am, Saturday, November 13, 2021, at the Wheeler Mortuary Chapel in Portales.
Billie Best Cooper went to be with our Heavenly Father on October 29, 2021. Billie was born November 11, 1934, to John Grady (Red) Best and Eula Reavis Best in O.K., TX.
She began school in Bledsoe, TX, and transferred to Floyd, NM, in 1942. Billie carried many memories of her time growing up on the ranch with her siblings. As a member of the Floyd High School class of 1951, she remained close to her classmates to this day.
On August 10, 1952, she married J.E. Cooper in Portales, NM. Billie was a devout ranch wife and mother to three boys, Steve, Lynn and Britt Cooper. She served many hungry cowboys through the years, which led to her later hatred of cooking. After losing J.E. to cancer in 1978, with Britt as a young teenager, Billie embarked on new journey. Billie returned to ENMU and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees with focuses in Art, Education and Library Science. At the age of 50, she began her 23-year career as an Art teacher at Texico Schools. Billie made a difference in the lives of many students, many of whom she inspired to chase their own careers in art and education. During her career as a teacher, she was nominated for several awards including a governor’s award. She owned a craft store on the Square in Portales with her sister, Thelma. Her love of art led to many craft show appearances. There, she sold a variety of items, including anything on which she could get paint to stick. She found joy in hearing about her creations finding new homes across the country. She mastered every art medium she attempted, and there were many! She loved crocheting blankets for babies and her loved ones. If you ever doubted her love, she would assure you to just count the stiches. Paper quilling graduation and wedding announcements, scrapbooking, writing poetry, documenting family history, painting and drawing were her favorite past times.
Billie loved her family with her whole heart and she cherished each and every one of them. If there was a ball game or event, she would be there cheering in the stands and setting refs straight. She made it her top priority to be involved in her kids’ and grandkids’ lives. One of her points of pride was that all five of her grandkids received college degrees.
She is survived by her sons Lynn Cooper of Texico and Britt Cooper (Anjy) of Roswell; her five grandchildren Kelley Fontanilla (Jeff) of Texico, Desiree Cooper (Adam Fajardo) of Portales, Jaylyn Cook (Craig) of Clovis, Jordyn Bailey (Seth) of Broadview, and Sterling Cooper of Roswell; her five great-grandchildren Christian and Kirra Fontanilla, Cooper and Carter Bailey, and Kyce Cook; and her sister-in-law Joy Best. She also had numerous nieces and nephews.
Billie is preceded in death by her father, Red Best; mother, Eula Best; husband, J.E. Cooper; son, Steve Cooper; daughter-in-law, Diane Cooper; sisters, Thelma Parker and Evelyn Kerby; brother, Wendell Best; nephew, Monte Best; and niece, Barbara Rogers.