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December 8, 2012

Katherine Lemoine Fenimore Cooper Cary

Katherine Lemoine Fenimore Cooper Cary

NEW YORK CITY — Katherine Lemoine Fenimore Cooper Cary, 92 a direct descendant of both William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown, and his son James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist who made Otsego Lake famous, died at her home in New York City on Tuesday, Dec. 4, around noon, surrounded by her family. Born in St. Louis on Feb. 25, 1920, she was the daughter of Dr. Henry Sage Fenimore Cooper and Katherine Lemoine Guy, both of Cooperstown. Her father had a major influence during the early days of the Bassett Hospital.

She was devoted to Cooperstown, where she lived part of the year in a farmhouse on Red Creek Farm, just east of the village on land she shared with her sister and two brothers, who collectively raised 15 children in their various farmhouses.

In Cooperstown, she was secretary of the Smithy Pioneer Gallery Inc., for 20 years in a building which may have been built in part by William Cooper. She was also a trustee of Hyde Hall. But she is probably best known as a long-time trustee of the Glimmerglass Opera, where she was primarily concerned with building a strong board. Many people who became highly productive officers were originally nominated for the board by her. She had a way of seeking out and finding people of loyalty and potential.

She had an extended family of her own. She was mother of Linn and Katrina Cary; mother-in-law of Ved Mehta, the writer, and Manu Bammi; grandmother to Sage Mehta and Natasha Mehta, and Theo Bammi; as well as grandmother-in-law to Sage’s husband, Michael Robinson. She was married for 29 years to William L. Cary, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President John F. Kennedy and Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia University. After a brief career in international relations, Katherine returned from France to raise her family while actively serving on the Boards of Goddard-Riverside Community Center and, as stated, the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown. Katherine will be remembered for her great civility and generosity, her beauty, her intrepid spirit of adventure, her selfless interest in other people and the high standards she set for herself and everyone around her.

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