Obituary: Alison Cope Puffer, 89, Hamlin Township. 

May 28, 2020

Alison Puffer

Obituary: Alison Cope Puffer, 89, Hamlin Township. 

July 7, 1930 – May 25, 2020

Alison Cope Puffer, 89, passed away on Memorial Day, peacefully at home, with her hospital bed positioned in the living room so she could see her beloved Hamlin Lake.  She had a stroke May 12, spent a week in the hospital and came home on hospice care, finally succumbing to complications from the stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

She grew up in Rantoul, Illinois, with her younger brother Winslow, and parents Harold and Ann (Foster) Cope.

At Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, she met Richard.  He was onstage playing the part of Prince Charming, and she played violin in the orchestra pit.  She claimed he was so cute in tights that she was smitten.  They married in 1952 and began a life together raising three children. Their time was filled with wonderful travels, many good friends, and a social life their children envied.

Alison was the social director and activity coordinator for her friends and family.  She was affectionately known as “the Energizer Bunny” by all.  Many a wonderful party was held on the family pontoon boat at Hamlin Lake, and hot dog picnics on the dunes were her favorite meal. For years, she organized regular weekly kayaking/canoe trips for local participants. Up until recently, she participated in AAUW, PEO, the Eclectics Book Group, Gourmet Club, a weekly “Lunch Bunch” at Chef John’s, and a lively Hand & Foot card party group.

One of her priorities in life was making sure no one she loved was ever hungry.  She could make a good meal out of anything she had on hand, and loved to spend time in the kitchen.

She had many interesting jobs outside the home while raising a family, but found her true calling as a kindergarten teacher in East Moline, Illinois. The children who were introduced to public schooling in her kindergarten classroom were most fortunate to have a teacher as excited and compassionate as she.

Another of Alison’s joys was travel.  She especially loved to camp.  Her young children grew up looking forward to great family travel adventures every summer, including one very memorable camping trip with two other families in Mexico.  As recently as 2017, she and Richard enjoyed camping in Everglades National Park at the southern tip of Florida.  Richard and Alison also traveled the world, living for a month on a boat in Ireland, camping in New Zealand, sleeping overnight in a dirt-floored hut in Thailand, vacationing in China and Egypt, going on an African Safari, sailing for a week with friends in the British Virgin Islands, and other trips too numerous to mention.

Once their three children were adults, Alison loved to plan family scuba diving trips, returning most frequently to Cozumel, but also diving in Bonaire, Hawaii, Grand Cayman, the Virgin Islands, and Belize.

Music provided special joy for Alison.  She and Richard sang in church and community choirs, including the West Shore Community Choir, People’s Unitarian Universalist Church choir and chime players, and a local madrigal group. For several years she performed in a local barbershop quartet called the “Red Hat Mommas.”   In her earlier days, she often directed choral groups.  One of Richard’s favorite memories is when he enlisted in the Navy and his commander found out about his musical wife. He asked if Alison would organize and direct a choir of Navy officers in Athens, Georgia.  Richard proudly sang in the group she directed.

The Puffers retired to Ludington in the 80’s after a lifetime of summers spent in the area.  Alison’s grandfather, Winslow Foster, purchased a cabin on Indian Pete’s Bayou in 1914, and it remains to this day the spiritual home of the entire family, who all treasure Ludington’s beautiful beaches, the bracing waters of Lake Michigan, the more intimate beauty of Hamlin Lake and its dunes, the wonderful state park, and last but not least, the very special people of this area.

Alison is survived by her husband Richard; daughter Lynn (Steve) Israel; sons Mark Puffer, Drew (Susie) Puffer; and grandchildren, Hayley Israel, Laura Israel, Russell Puffer, Audra Puffer and Alex Puffer.

She and Richard have been lovingly cared for in the last year by local resident Becky Reamer, and caregivers from Village Services.  For this assistance, the family is immensely grateful.

Alison requested cremation.  A celebration of life party will be scheduled sometime in the future.

The family would suggest contributions in Alison’s memory be made to Hamlin Lake Preservation Society or People’s Church in Ludington.

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington, www.OakGroveLudington.com.

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