Claire Belle Cooper Mayer, age 97

Claire Cooper Mayer

Claire Belle Cooper Mayer, a longtime resident of Rapid City, S.D., died peacefully at age 97 in the presence of beloved family members and caretakers, June 17, in Elko, Nev. 
Her lifelong love of travel may have been instilled shortly after her birth in Madison, S.D., where she was delivered by her favorite “Uncle Doc,” then taken by her parents, Ernest and Maud Cooper (later of Philip), to their home near Milesville where she spent her childhood. 
Among her fondest life memories were hours on horseback, “racing the wind” and rides to and from the one-room schoolhouse she attended until transferring to Parker, where she completed high school. She majored in journalism and home economics at South Dakota State College in Brookings just as World War II began, and traveled to Washington, D.C., where her first job was in a White House typing pool. 
Claire was a woman of firsts. She returned from Washington to Sioux Falls where she taught radio communications to airmen. With tutoring from friends, she became one of the first women in the United States to achieve a first class Federal Communications license. Toward the end of the war, she worked at radio station KIJV-KSOO in Sioux Falls. Many years later, after her marriage to Frank Mayer, Rapid City, she became the first woman in South Dakota to be licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a registered representative. She was one of the co-founders of the South Dakota State Mental Health Association; and finally, one of her great joys was keeping in touch for many years with some of the young men and women whose lives she had touched as a counselor for the State Job Service in Rapid City.
Known as GG (for great-grandma) to her great-grandsons, Claire was smart, playful, good-natured, compassionate, incisive, independent and stubborn to the end. 
She will be missed by those who loved and survive her: her daughters, Lynn Ashley (Lawrence Snyder), Voorheesville, N.Y., and Franki Mayer, Elko, Nev.; a granddaughter, Leslie Olmstead, Elko, Nev.; grandsons, Todd Olmstead (Erica Johnson Olmstead), Sacramento, Calif., and Justin Carrier,  Portland, Ore.; and four great-grandsons, Grayson and Connor, Sacramento, and Cooper and Payden, Elko. 
She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Mayer, and longtime companion, Darrel Mueller. 
A memorial service will be held in Rapid City in the fall. 
Friends may share memories and leave their condolences at 

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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