In Loving Memory of River Lightwomoon
On Sunday, January 6, 2019, River Lightwomoon died at the Big Stone Gap, Virginia home of her brother and sister-in-law Mark and Elizabeth Cooperstein. River had lived with them for the last two years.
River was born in Suffern, NY on May 13, 1950 to Samuel and Claire (nee Stadeker) Cooperstein. After graduating from Spring Valley High School in 1968, she moved to the Woodstock area where she was on the cutting edge of lesbian feminism and women’s music. She was a founding member of a feminist collective that created an alternative women’s health conference in 1975 and again in 1976. When to their surprise the conference made money, they put the profits toward the creation of a women-only coffeehouse, Sojourner’s. For decades, women would meet there regularly for music, poetry, art and conversation.
River was an accomplished drummer, bass player and singer, performing with various musicians. Along with Alix Dobkin and Debbie Fier, she performed across the country at colleges and women’s events as The Party Line Dance Band. She was also a member of Iabas, a traditional Brazilian percussion band.
River was a bookkeeper for local businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Whether working with numbers, creating music and poetry, or fighting for social justice, River made strong connections and lasting friendships. Family, both of origin and creation, was central to her. In addition to her brother and sister-in-law, River is survived by another brother, Carl Cooperstein, nieces Irene Stein and Kathleen Cooperstein, nephew Joe Cooperstein and niece-in-law Stephanie Cooperstein. She also leaves behind her dear friends Virginia Moore and Alix Dobkin and countless others whose lives she touched.
A memorial for River is planned for the spring. Time and place will be announced.