Marie Coose, the former mayor of Roman Forest, died Wednesday evening, March 16, surrounded by her loved ones. She was 102 and the matriarch of seven generations of her family.
Coose was the first elected mayor for the City of Roman Forest in Montgomery County. In 1983, she won a contested race for mayor with just 45 votes. Prior to that, she had finished an appointed term as mayor. In the following years, Coose served on city council. She is credited with introducing Roman Forest’s first ad valorem tax, $0.10 per $100 assessed property value, and for changing the city’s designation from a community to a city.
“I am the one who started the property tax rate because as soon as I became mayor, we had a hurricane. I got a hold of FEMA but they could not help because we did not have any income as a city. I could not get a penny,” Coose told Bluebonnet News in 2019 when she was presented a surprise birthday plaque from Roman Forest City Manager Liz Mullane and Police Chief Stephen Carlisle.
Determined to put the city on a more solid financial footing for future disasters, Coose pushed for the tax. Because of those actions, the city was able to recently qualify for close to $1 million in grant funding.
City council meetings back then were held inside a trailer house on Athens Street. In later years, City Hall was moved to a pavilion, which later burned, destroying many city records in the process.
Roman Forest had a golf course and a country club featuring a 5-star restaurant. The country club burned around the same time as the pavilion fire.
In that interview, Coose said her biggest challenge as mayor at the time was getting council members to show up for meetings.
“The men didn’t like me so they wouldn’t come to the meetings. Three of them would purposely not come so I wouldn’t have a quorum,” she said. “My husband said it was because I was smarter than them.”
Her late husband, Vernon F. Coose, worked for the Houston Weather Bureau. When he was transferred from Fort Worth to the Houston area, the Coose family found the community fo Roman Forest, and they never left.
The Cooses were married for 53 years – sharing two daughters and two sons – when Vernon died of cancer.
In the final part of her life, Coose lost her vision, but her mind was still sharp.
“She had a strong mind all the way to the end. She could always tell it was me when I walked in her house,” said Carlisle. “She died of natural causes while holding the hands of her family members.”
A service time for Coose will be announced later this week.