Mary Heller Cope, one of the first exchange students to Germany after World War II

Mary Heller Cope

Sophie Panzer

(Jewish Exponent via JTA) — Mary Heller Cope was passionate about public service and education — she considered them part of her Jewish heritage and identity.

Cope, a longtime resident of Cheltenham in suburban Philadelphia, served on executive committees for local chapters of the League of Women Voters, American Cancer Society, American Field Service, Cheltenham Township Government Study Commission, the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, the Cheltenham Adult School and the Elkins Park Library.

She was awarded a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for her exemplary record of service in 1995.

In 2004, she and her husband, Dr. Constantin Cope, retired and spent several years in Bend, Oregon, where they provided a scholarship for students at the local community college.

“She just loved being involved with the community and volunteering, and she was one of those people who would do absolutely anything for you if she could,” her daughter Connie Franckle said.

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Cope, a native of Englewood, New Jersey, graduated from Oberlin College and received a master’s degree in public administration and business from Radcliffe College. She also was one of the first international exchange students to Germany with American Field Service (now AFS-USA) after World War II.

She married in 1957 and the couple raised their children in Cheltenham.

Cope died on Jan. 10 of Alzheimer’s disease and complications from COVID-19. The Yardley, Pennsylvania, resident was 86.

This article was originally published in the Jewish Exponent as part of its COVID-19 obituary coverage.

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