Mary Beth Cooper Walden

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Mary Beth Cooper Walden, 74, died Sunday, June 7, 2020, at her home in Oxford. Her family will hold a memorial service at a future date to be determined. 

Born in Columbus, Miss., to the late Alverne Nichols and Frank Cooper, Mary Beth was a member of Covenant United Methodist Church in Columbus where she maintained a dual residence. She is the widow of the late Donald Edward Walden. 

In 1951, Mary Beth moved to Macon, Miss., with her family, where she spent a number of her grade school years. Her family finally settled in Oxford in 1961, and she graduated from Oxford High School in 1964. Mary Beth received a bachelor’s degree in Business Education and a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Mississippi. While pursuing her master’s, she worked full time, mothered two small children, and supported her husband as he finished pharmacy school. Mary Beth began her teaching career at Fifth Street School in West Point, Miss., in the 1970s, but she spent the bulk of her professional life in Columbus as a member of the Heritage Academy faculty. Mary Beth wore many hats at Heritage, but her favorite was successively playing senior sponsor to each graduating class. She was intensely proud of her students and cherished the lifelong friends found among her teaching colleagues and school parents. 

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Mary Beth was a successful business owner, partnering with her husband to build a thriving pharmacy that serviced her community for decades. She was passionate about accounting instruction, literature, learning, her library, and her “grands.” Her laugh was infectious, and her dear sister, Elsie, could get Mary Beth tickled like no other. In her free time, Mary Beth enjoyed playing the piano, sewing, cooking, and reading. She loved Ole Miss baseball, a good margarita, and movie nights with her sweet friend. 

Mrs. Walden is survived by two daughters, Erika Walden, and her partner, Lawton Gafford, of Water Valley, Miss., and Shanda Walden Sloan, and her husband, Bill, of Fayetteville, Ark.; one sister, Elsie Cooper Dixon, of Oxford; her friend and stepmother, Mary Kaye Cooper; two grandchildren, Walden Sloan and Gable Sloan; two nieces, Mary Martha Henson and Laura Ann Walker; one nephew, Cooper Dixon; three grandnieces, Sadie Walker, Amory Walker, and Collyns Dixon; and two grandnephews, Ethan Walker and Campbell Dixon. 

Countless dear friends and cherished loved ones in Oxford and Columbus mourn her loss.  

In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Walden and her family ask that friends consider memorial contributions to The Palmer Home for Children,, Breast Cancer Research Foundation,, or filling a backpack with school supplies and donating them to your local elementary school. 

For additional information or to leave an online condolence, please call 662-234-7971 or visit