Katherine Breann Cooper died May 23, 2014 in Isla Vista, CA at the age of 22. She was one of six young adults that lost their lives and futures in a brutal killing spree near the UC Santa Barbara campus.
She was a vital part of a loving family that included her parents, Dan and Kelli, her brother Nicholas and his girlfriend Ashley, her brother Jonathan, his fiancé Brittany and their son Dillon, her brother Ryan, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. She was a primary link in a growing chain of family and friends, forever altered, impossible to restore.
Katie was an individual with her own elusive and distinct personality.
Katie was a small-town girl who traveled the world. She grew up in Chino Hills, California and lived a short time in Paris, France. She has traveled as far away as New Zealand.
Although Katie was a precious daughter among a house full of boys, she was not spoiled. She belonged to many clubs and volunteer organizations. She was the first to make sure everyone was included and felt comfortable. She was the kind of person who would see someone at a school dance, sitting alone, and ask them to dance. While at college, she gave her bike to a friend, happy to walk to school, knowing her friend would get to class on time. When she was a bit stressed during finals, thinking her friends might be stressed too, she would bake them cookies. For Katie, there was nothing so bad that a batch of cookies couldn't fix.
Katie was a tomboy who loved sports, playing basketball, track, and soccer. She could also rock in her high heels and low-cut dresses. She was equally comfortable wearing sweats and sneakers or gowns and pearls. She was self-conscious of her looks and didn't think of herself as pretty, but she did not hesitate when a friend asked her to pose for a "glam" shot so he could complete a photography assignment.
Katie was a girl scout and a party girl. She was just as happy helping others and volunteering as she was hanging out at the beach and planning parties. She took four years of ballroom dancing, yet considered herself a klutz. She could glide across a dance floor as graceful as a gazelle, yet she broke her ankle just walking down the street after dance class.
While at Ayala High School, Katie took culinary classes and received several regional and state culinary awards including a Presidential Recognition from President George W. Bush. Her original plan was to go to culinary school, but after she learned she would have to sacrifice spending time with family and friends by working weekends and holidays, she decided on a more traditional college education.
Katie's years at UCSB were the happiest of her life and she was looking forward to her senior year. She was working on a dual major in Classics and Art History, and was also interested in archaeology. A defining moment for her came when she joined the Tri Delta Sorority. She loved the sorority life with its many functions, activities, and events. She also loved being part of a large family of sisters. Her constant concern for everyone's welfare earned her the name "mama Coops." She knew that being a sorority sister was not just fun, it was hard work and she took her responsibilities seriously. Every day was a lesson in discovering what type of person she wanted to be. The last day of her life was spent celebrating with her sisters the end of Tri Delta's Senior Week activities, tasting wines, chatting, taking goofy pictures, and planning an elaborate Italian meal.
Katie was a precious young woman with a sweet smile, bizarre sense of humor, and an evil genius laugh. Even though it is impossible to describer her in words, perhaps her brother Nicholas put it best when he said, "Katie is stupidly intelligent, gracefully klutzy, and the coolest nerd ever."
In a word, she was "adorkable."
Contributions may be made to: The Scholarship Fund in memory of Katie through the Tri Delta Foundation website or on line at GOFUNDME.com