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Terry Cooper steps up to leadership roles of service

Terry Cooper graduated from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey in 1983, and the University of San Diego’s paralegal program in 1990. In 1982, she married Greg Cooper and the couple have a son, Grant, 23. From 1983 to 1986, Cooper served as liaison between American and Italian community members as the spouse of the American Naval Officer at the Italian Naval Academy. She was a translator for visiting dignitaries and volunteered as an English instructor.

Cooper said she is proud of the certificate of appreciation she received from the Commanding Major General of Army, Europe for her volunteer services. The experience led to her long list of volunteer service stateside, which includes working with St. Germaine Children’s Charity, Las Patronas, the Pomona-Pitzer Men’s Water Polo Team, La Jolla High School boys and girls water polo teams, Wind ‘N Sea Water Polo Club, the fundraising committee for LJHS Aquatic Complex and Science Center, La Jolla High School PTA, Muirlands Middle School PTA, Franklin Elementary PTA and the Friends of Franklin Elementary Foundation.

What brought you to La Jolla?

As a native San Diegan, living in La Jolla was always a dream. My dream was realized in 1998 when my husband and I purchased his childhood home in La Jolla.

What makes this town special to you?

I love our quintessential village charm with its casual beach sophistication. Locals can catch up with each other shopping with local merchants, dining in our fine restaurants, working out at the gym or relaxing on the sand. We also have a great community of surfers and scientists ... sometimes they are the same!

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would ask drivers to be more courteous. One of my pet peeves is speeding drivers who care only about themselves while others are attempting to leave diagonal parking spaces. Obnoxious honking at those courageously attempting to back out doesn’t help the situation!

Also, I would like to see the beautification of the center divide on Nautilus Street. It is a major street into and out of La Jolla — rocks and native plants would be fantastic.

Who or what inspires you?

Random acts of kindness ... members of our Armed Services.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, William Swan Munson, Ethel Greene.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading. I recently started “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo. It is the story of the woman who started the Champagne empire.

What is your most-prized possession?

If they could ever be considered possessions, they would be my husband, Greg, and our son, Grant. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

What do you do for fun?

I have always been very domestic and love to cook, sew, knit, do needlepoint, garden, entertain and create. Our summer vegetable garden and our plumeria collection are always a conversation starter for dinner parties.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

Giving birth to our son in Italy, in Italian, ranks right up there in accomplishments! Imagine your birthing room looking out at The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I am also proud of having served as a member of Las Patronas for six years, with my final year as its president. After Las Patronas, the past two years I’ve volunteered to be president of St. Germaine Children’s Charity. Both organizations are entirely volunteer-based and committed to providing financial assistance to nonprofit organizations in San Diego County.

Las Patronas is committed to providing assistance to those who provide services in the areas of health, education, social services, and cultural arts. St. Germaine Children’s Charity provides funding to organizations that work to prevent child abuse. These past eight years have certainly been an eye-opener as to the needs in San Diego County, as well as to those who put their heart and soul into helping others.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I honestly believe in The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”