Janice (Jan) Elaine Rickert Cooper passed away at her home on 1/13/2023 at age 64. She was the daughter of Carroll and Mae Rickert. She grew up on the East coast, but had a heart for Arizona and found true contentment living in the desert and making a home outside of Tucson. She was a hard worker. She grew fruit trees, raised chickens, and cared for multiple rescue animals including dogs, donkeys and tortoises. She was a passionate supporter of multiple animal rescues including PIMA paws for life, RAD Rescue in AZ, and the Humane League in PA. She was a member of Sanctuary United Methodist Church.
Jan was the kind of human who was an avid learner simply for the sake of learning. She started learning about nature at an early age from her father, and as a child brought home injured animals to nurture back to health. She naturally stepped into a zookeeper position at ZooAmerica in Hershey, PA, and eventually joined the team at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ. At any moment, she could tell you anything about wolves, desert animals, rocks and minerals. She could identify any snake (and catch it!) with confidence. She would happily share her knowledge about caring for dogs with anyone who asked, and she fostered numerous dogs over the years, many of which became part of her family.
Jan had a strong voice and a soft heart. She will be missed dearly by her family and friends. She is survived by her husband, Bruce Cooper, sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Allen Bupp, daughter, Andrea Wheeler, two nieces, Megan Smith and Linell Patterson, and many beloved pets.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite animal rescue or charity.