Lesa Cooper, 86, was born in Tyler but migrated to Memphis, Tennessee when younger.
Cooper happened to be Elvis Presley’s neighbor in Memphis, and remembers him being a great friend and neighbor.
“Elvis used to ride his horses with his bodyguards and I would wave at him, sometimes I would go over to his house and go to church with his family.” Cooper said. “He was really good to his neighbors.”
Elvis was not the only celebrity that Cooper befriended. Cooper moved to Dallas and managed Cabana Motor Hotel, where The Beatles stayed during their Dallas visit.
“I lived in the hotel, so I got to spend a lot of time with them," Cooper said. "They were very nice and caught up with me. I never went on a date with any of them but would have loved to. They even called me 'Beatle.'"
Cooper has lived an exciting life but is now her happiest and most content at the comfort of her home.
“I enjoy myself at home, with my Chihuahua, Sugarbee, and Cindy,” Cooper said.
Cooper lives with her caregiver Cindy Collins, who noticed the house needed work done.
Thanks to the Methodist Missions week, Cooper’s house will soon be remodeled and look like new.
The Methodist Menders, a Marvin United Methodist Church group that completes construction projects year-round, does several projects throughout their Mission Week in June.
A group of the Methodist Menders started working on the house June 17.
“We did landscaping and cut all the trees up; she had rotted soffits that needed fixing,” said Kirk Armstrong, who is part of the Mission Week group.
Methodist Missions Week in Tyler dates back to 1988, when Dr. Duane Andrews, a Marvin church member, and his son-in-law, the Rev. Randy Hageman, a Marvin associate pastor, started it as a way for the church members to complete home repairs.
Since then, the week has grown from dozens of people repairing one home to about 600 people working on 15 projects this year.
Cooper said she is grateful that her caregiver and friend contacted them.
“I feel wonderful that the Lord sent them because it takes a lot of money to fix a house,” Cooper said.
Besides enjoying the company of Collins, Cooper said, she loves her cooking the most.
“I’d love her even if she didn’t cook, but that is a plus,” Cooper said. "She really can cook."
The Methodist Menders said they hoped to be done by Friday and continue with the rest of the projects.