Mary Kate Cope, former First Lady of Middle Tennessee State University, died on her birthday, August 15, 2012, in Murfreesboro. She was 96 years of age.
Mrs. Cope is preceded in death by her late husband, Dr. Quill Evan Cope, who served as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Tennessee from 1952-1958, and president of Middle Tennessee State University from 1958-1968.
Mrs. Cope graduated from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1939, after which she pursued a career in education until the birth of her children. Mrs. Cope was active in the civic affairs of the state while her husband served in the cabinet of both Governor Frank Clement and Governor Buford Ellington. The role she enjoyed most was serving as first Lady of Middle Tennessee State University, where she oversaw the renovation and restoration of the President's residence, was active in campus affairs, and where she made some of her closest life-long friendships.
Mrs. Cope was a native of Sparta, TN and was preceded in death by her parents, father, John Foster Smith, mother, Maggie Brown Smith who died when Mrs. Cope was five, and by her step-mother, Minnie Lowry Smith.
Mrs. Cope is survived by her children, John Rogers Cope, and wife Pat, of Knoxville; James Carl Cope, and wife Debbie, of Murfreesboro; grandchildren Clinton Evan Cope, and wife Karla, and their children Evan and Taylor, of Knoxville; James Christopher Cope of Knoxville; Katie Cope Wolf, and husband Adam, of Auckland, New Zealand; Edward Evan Cope, and wife Beth, of Murfreesboro; and John Ingram Cope of Knoxville.
Visitation with the family will be on Friday, August 17, from 11:00am-2:00pm at Woodfin Memorial Chapel in Murfreesboro.
A graveside service will be 3:30 PM Friday at Highland Cemetery in Sparta. Family will serve as pallbearers.
Memorials may be made to the Dr. & Mrs. Quill E. Cope Scholarship Foundation at MTSU P.O. Box 109 Murfreesboro, TN 37132 or by phone 615-898-2502 in memory of Mrs. Cope.
Online condolences can be made at www.woodfinchapel.com 893-5151.