Vedia Denise Cooper Brackens was born in St. Louis County, Missouri, on November 11, 1954, to Norma Jean Rogers and George Gaylor. She was reared in love by her mother, Norma Jean Cooper, and father, Theopolis Cooper, who preceded her in death. She departed this life on December 6, 2021, in St. Louis City.
Vedia was always an avid reader and loved attending school at J. Milton Turner School in the Meacham Park area of Kirkwood, Missouri, and Bristol Elementary School in Webster Groves. She went on to attend Steger Junior High School in Rock Hill, Missouri.
As a child, Vedia was a role model to her younger four siblings, taking pride in being the dutiful oldest child. She enjoyed membership in the Brownies and Girl Scouts and enjoyed contributing to her early church home at Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church as an usher and member of the junior and young adult choirs.
Vedia blossomed in high school. She was a sophomore cheerleader and a member of the Students for Black Awareness and Action. She sang soprano in the Webster Groves Community Black Youth Choir. She was a varsity cheerleader and held the coveted title of Friendship Maid at the 1972 Friendship Dance between football rivals, Webster High and Kirkwood High School.
After high school graduation, Vedia attended college at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Park University in Parkville, Missouri, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio satellite campus. She continued her employment with the federal government, where she worked until her retirement in 2010.
Vedia married Kevin D. Brackens in 1987. She was the mother of Tenisha N. Brackens and Kevin D. Brackens, Jr., who preceded her in death.
At an early age, Vedia devoted her life to God and eventually settled into the Christian family at First Baptist Church of the Living Stone in Webster Groves, under Elder Wendell Wyman Bonner, Ph.D. She was ordained on November 20, 2011, as a deaconess and was appointed building coordinator at the church until her death.
Vedia is survived by: her husband, Kevin Brackens, Sr.; a daughter, Tenisha N. Brackens; her mother, Norma Jean Cooper; three sisters, Dalvenia Douglas (Kenneth), Margaretti Walker (Michael), and Lorraine Cooper; four brothers, David Gaylor, Gary Cooper, Mark Hubbard, and Brian Cooper; a cousin and adopted brother, Kraig Jones; a goddaughter, Naomii Lemieux; and a host of uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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