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.

Events revive as boycott wanes
Where boycott succeeded, and where it failed
Boycott leaders: Where they are today
Crowds gathered early for downtown activities
It's red ribbon day for AIDS walk
More families choosing cremation
Images of cremation evoke Holocaust memories for Jews
Sewage plant fights to expand
Alabaman wins Miss America
Nude runner leads to robbery arrest
Weary, flood-soaked Ohioans wring hands and belongings
Man electrocuted at bakery plant
Local news briefs

New program helps youth build future
Florence, Boone disagree on how to use funds
Donations bolster drug strike force
NKU sinks hook into revitalizing area near lake
Covington scooter law advancing
Loveland sewer expansion moves ahead despite spat
Ludlow forum to take up pit bulls
Subdivision pitches in
Northern Kentucky news briefs

One-party rule makes for ballot unevenness
Voinovich praises progress of joint breast cancer work
He calls 'em as he sees 'em
Portman vows not to take it easy
Canton mayor, GOP send mixed signals
Here's how and where to register to vote

School dress codes wear thin
Schools tie for Merit honors
Teachers set to picket
Room and board at Miami rising 8.5%
West Clermont schools part of TV show

Traffic signal flap eases
Liberty Township gets contract Post Office

Bronson: Jazz sax man was reflection of our spirit
Crowley: Lucas gives emotional, blunt review
Howard: Seventh-grader rises in national science contest

B.E. Bruning a repairman and gardener
Viola Heath had owned beauty salon