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Editha M. Cooper-Wolff
updated: Mar 16, 2012, 11:03 AM
Source: Lompoc Record
Editha was born July 1, 1925 in Konigsberg, East Prussia and died on March 13, 2012 at Sara House in Santa Barbara.
Born of a Romanian Father and White Russian Mother. Editha, at the age of nine, won a two year scholarship to study voice. She was soon playing children's parts on the radio. At the age of thirteen she became a student of music at the Prague Conservatory of Music in Czechoslovakia, she trained as a Coloratura Soprano until World War II began.
Her first husband, Baron Rebuschot de Bute, was a Romanian officer with the Czechoslovakian Air Force; he was killed six months after they married. Editha was pregnant with his child. Both her parents were taken prisoner by the Russians, and Editha found herself alone, widowed, and a mother before she was seventeen. Her father was held as a prisoner-of-war in the Russian zone of Germany, while her Mother was sent to Russia to Labor camps working in a munitions factory, a coal mine, as a brick layer, and later a mill, being released in 1949 when no longer physically able to be of use for hard labor. Editha's Mother and Father were later reunited in Munich, Germany in 1950.
Torn apart from her parents, Editha walked for five days carrying her baby in her arms. Hiding in barns by day, and traveling by night, fleeing from town-to-town ahead of pursuing troops. She and her son were on a Death Train in which 800 people died after the Russians took the locomotive fleeing from the Germans, and left everyone stranded on the train in the snow. The Nazis caught up with the train, and Editha was given a "Choice" of working in a munitions factory or touring the hospitals singing, giving performances for the German Red Cross. She chose the latter course, as a singer she toured and sang for three years, a Coloratura Soprano and Concert Artist known as Baroness Editha Rebuschot de Bute. She became suspect by the Nazis and she and her 3-1/2 year old son were imprisoned for two years and finally rescued by American Forces.
In the interim at the end of the war the NATO Alliance gave the Country of Prussia to Stalin, located on the Baltic Straits, Konigsberg later became the Russian's Nuclear Submarine Base, now Editha no longer had a Country.
The young Baroness continued signing, now for the Armed forces. She also worked with the Army Special Forces as an interpreter, with spoken and written knowledge of seven languages, helping process displaced persons all over Europe. In one of her singing appearances for the Armed Forces she sang for General Patton in Czechoslovakia. She relocated to Munich, Germany in 1946 and continued concert appearances and working with the Armed Forces. There she met and married Francis Anderson, an Army Station Master. Editha and Francis had a son Mark (aka Tony), and Francis adopted her son Rolph. Francis brought his family to the United States. Editha arrived in New York City on June 28, 1952. In 1954 Editha renounced her title as "Baroness" and became a United States Citizen. Editha continued giving Concert performances in Lawton, Oklahoma and in Texas. After extensive travels with the military, Editha settle in Lompoc, and has resided in Vandenberg Village since the early sixties. She and Francis later divorced and Editha married Eugene Cooper (another tragedy). Eugene was the Assistant Fire Chief at V.A.F.B. and was killed in a wild fire in 1977. Editha was the Executive Housekeeper for the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, and retired after many years of service.
In 1990 at age sixty-five Editha married John (Jerry) B. Wolff, another long time Lompoc resident.
Editha was preceded in death by all four of her husbands, her son Tony who died in 2003, and her son Wolfgang Rolph Rudiger Rebuschot de Bute Baron III (Andy Anderson) who died last year in October here in Lompoc. She is survived by her Grandson Michael Anderson and wife Diane of Lincoln, Nebraska, her Granddaughter Dawn Smith of Lincoln, Nebraska, her Grandson Mark Anderson of Gowanda, New York, and five Great-Grandchildren; Tyler, Tanner, Jessica, Kevin, and Marky, and her Daughter-In-Law Wendy Anderson, who has been her full-time caregiver for the past two years.
Editha, known to family and friends as "Edi," was an amazing woman and lived a truly remarkable life. She was loved and will be missed by her family and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held at Starbuck-Lind Mortuary on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 1:30 p.m., located at 123 North "A" Street, Lompoc, CA.
The family wishes to acknowledge the exceptional nursing staff at Lompoc Valley Medical Center E.R., and C.C.U., and the compassionate and caring people at the Sara House, (a non-profit hospice facility), in Santa Barbara, CA, where she spent her last days.
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