Sunday, September 19, 2004

Viola Heath had owned beauty salon


She was 'ahead of her time'

By Mary Lu Listermann
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - Viola Manning Cooper Heath, 90, was a fiercely independent woman, ahead of her time, according to her daughter, Roberta Cooper Gonzales.

Ms. Heath, formerly of Covington and Newport, died Tuesday in Ballwin, Mo.

Ms. Heath was raised in Independence with four sisters. Her mother died when she was young, leaving her father to raise the five girls alone.

"I remember my mother telling the story of her father retreating every summer, taking the girls to Williamsburg, near the Tennessee border. That is where his mother lived. She said grandmother would pick them up at the station with a horse-drawn wagon. She told me the trees were so thick they couldn't see the sun. I think those summers in the mountains helped my mother become a strong woman," her daughter said.

Ms. Heath declared independence from her marriage in 1949. She educated herself, worked as an accountant, bought her own home in Covington and then opened Vi's Beauty Salon.

"She wasn't one to take a day off. She worked hard," her daughter said.

Ms. Heath was not only an advocate for herself, but for others. Her daughter said that when Viola heard of a family in need, she would come to their aid. If a needy person had a job interview, her mother would provide a nice outfit. If a family needed food, she would give them plenty.

"She fought a lot of battles. I admired her," her daughter said.

Ms. Heath was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Kentucky Historical Society and Licking Valley Quilters.

Her husband, Robert Heath died in 1975 and daughter Yvonne Conover died in 2002.

In addition to her daughter Roberta Cooper Gonzales, she is survived by two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were held Saturday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Erlanger. Allison & Rose Funeral Home in Covington handled arrangements.




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