Carol Cooling-Kopp worked behind the scenes of NBC-TV, Channel 5 and earned multiple Emmy Awards, but few viewers knew her name.
Cooling-Kopp was director of special events and programming. She worked to immerse the station in the communities they covered, partnering NBC 5 with everything from the Chicago Auto Show to the Chicago Marathon, and countless charitable fundraisers.
She passed away on Wednesday at her Arlington Heights home after a yearlong battle with lung cancer. She was 56.
"Carol was the heart and soul of NBC5," said Allison Rosati during an on-air tribute Wednesday. "She worked longer and harder than anyone at the station."
Rosati's co-anchor, Rob Stafford, described Kopp's role as being more than the leader of the station's live special events.
"Carol established relationships with hundreds of businesses, organizations and sports teams," Stafford said, "that made NBC 5 stronger."
Cooling-Kopp studied journalism at Western Illinois University and was an intern with the White House press corps, working under ABC News political correspondent, Sam Donaldson.
She spent the bulk of her career at Channel 5, all behind the camera, working her way up to special events director.
It was at Channel 5 that she met her husband, Chip. He is a technical engineer, and both earned multiple Emmy Awards for "individual excellence off the camera."
Her brother, Jim Cooling of Kansas City, said her long career with NBC resulted in high profile relationships across the country.
"She was like the mayor of NBC," he said, pointing to friendships with everyone from Bill Murray to Donald Trump, and locally, Bears' kicker, Robbie Gould.
Cooling-Kopp moved with her family to Arlington Heights in 1973, and she attended Hersey High School. They lived in a home that would ultimately border Lake Arlington, which was built in the late 1980s.
Besides her husband and brother, Cooling-Kopp is survived by her siblings Judy (Walt) Kuhlmann, Tom (Terri) Cooling and Kim (Andy) Roberts, and 12 nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 at Glueckert Funeral Home Ltd., 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road. A 10 a.m. Mass will be held Monday at St. Edna Catholic Church, 2525 N. Arlington Heights Road. Both are in Arlington Heights.