An outpouring of community affection Friday afternoon celebrated Ida Cooper Elliott for running a race more glorious than any of the electoral contests she oversaw in her more than six years as supervisor of elections.
Friends and family filled the sanctuary of the Living Waters Assembly of God, for a final public farewell to Elliott, who passed away from cancer Nov. 3 at age 55, about four months after her health prompted her to step down after scaling the pinnacle of her 36 years of service to the elections office.
In soft and even tones, Pastor Scotty Lolley paid tribute to her life, beginning with a reading of Paul’s resounding words of having kept the faith, in 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
“Ms. Ida has ran her race and did a mighty fine job, and because of that she had a reward that awaited her. She was a woman who was courageous,” he said. ”She never allowed the wind to be taken from her sail.
“No matter how tiresome her journey became she never gave up, she never quit running. Although her physical pace may have slowed, what mattered the most was she finished. And in her finishing she has taken the baton of motherhood and her faith and passed it along to her daughters and to those of us who gather to celebrate her here today,” he said.
Together with their father, Mark Elliott, Ida Elliott’s two daughters, Miranda Ard and her husband Tim, and Samantha Elliott, pulse the heart of the nuclear family left to cherish her memory. Also surviving her are two grandchildren, Taylor Keith Ard and Riley Kate Ard; her parents, Charles Henry Cooper and Mildred Cooper; three sisters Deborah Guillotte and husband Darren, Suzie Stockwell and husband Wayne, and Charlotte Andrews and husband Sam; one brother Charles Cooper; and mother-in-law Adrienne Elliott.
In his eulogy, Lolley drew upon the scripture found in Proverbs 31 on “The Woman of Valor.” “As I opened my Bible to this passage I expected to see a picture of our precious friend appear upon the pages, because she was a portrait of this passage,” he said.
“A wife but not an ordinary wife, a mother but not the average mother by far, a daughter and sister of strength and stability, a devout grandmother, one amazing friend.
“She was a willing worker, she enjoyed providing for her family so much so that you will probably continue to receive gifts from QVC for months to come,” he said. “For 36 years she has served this county well. She made her mark, she made the environment of the office she held a peaceable place to both work and serve others. She rejoiced in serving, She extended her hands and reached out to others.
“She was a leader who had a servant’s heart, and she reproduced herself in the lives of others. One would only need to take a quick glance at Heather Riley and Carrie Johnson to see the influence our humble friend has made in the lives of others,” Lolley said.
Elliott’s cheerful demeanor and welcoming personality were noted in the pastor’s remarks, suggesting memories tossed aloft like doves from a gloved hand.
“She always had a big smile and a friendly greeting. When you visited with her, she was always thrilled to see you and never wanted to see you go,” said Lolley.
The minister spoke of Elliott’s reconciliation with her death in the time leading to her death, of visits to the church with Samantha, her sisters and her friend Doris Pendleton. Elliott was a courthouse colleague of Pendleton’s, the former property appraiser.
“She held to my hand and wanted me to pray with her. We talked a lot about faith, but more than that we entertained heaven’s angels together,” said Lolley. “As she has done with the many others who were privileged to know her, she made an impression upon my life.
“She was an example for faithful living. An example to fear God and look to him for comfort and guidance and to trust Him even when you may not have a good understanding.”
Elliott was buried in MagnoliaCemetery.