Lorraine Cooper, the wife of former U.S. Sen. John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky and a prominent Washington hostess, has died at a Washington, D.C., nursing home. She was 79.
The former Lorraine Arnold Rowan of Pasadena, who married Cooper in 1955, died Sunday.
A few days after the Coopers’ marriage, they left for India, to which he had been named ambassador by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“Lorraine’s gracious smile, charming manner and luxurious parties made a hit with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other Indian dignitaries. They were sorry to see both she and Ambassador Cooper go,” wrote syndicated columnist Drew Pearson when the Coopers returned from India in 1956.
Cooper, a Republican, returned to Kentucky that year to run for the Senate, winning election to a partial term, and later to two full terms.
One of the first invitations accepted by the newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy was for a dinner party Mrs. Cooper organized in 1961 at her Georgetown home.
The Coopers and Kennedys were close friends despite their different political affiliations.
In 1967, the Washington Post described Mrs. Cooper as a hostess “who staged Washington’s most entertaining salon every Monday afternoon with all the flair of a Broadway theatrical producer.”
After his retirement from the Senate in 1972, Cooper was appointed the nation’s first ambassador to East Germany. His wife’s dinners were considered highlights of East Berlin’s limited social life.
A spokesman for Cooper, 83, said he was in seclusion in his Washington-area home.
Mrs. Cooper’s marriage to the senator was her third. She was first married to Robert McAdoo, son of William Gibbs McAdoo, treasury secretary in the Wilson Administration and later a U.S. senator from California, and to Thomas Shevlin Jr., a member of a wealthy Minneapolis family.