William Wakefield "Bill" Cook

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    - Gary Ritter
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Service Information
Evergreen Memorial Gardens Funeral Chapel
1101 NE 112th Avenue
Vancouver, WA
98684
(360)-892-6060
Obituary

WILLIAM WAKEFIELD COOK
April 16, 1924 ~ March 2, 2011

William Wakefield Cook died Wed., March 2, 2011, in Vancouver, WA, from leukemia. He was born April 16, 1924, in St. Helens, to William and Sophie Cook, the fifth of nine children. Bill grew up with his family in St. Helens and was a 1943 graduate of St. Helens High School. While in school, in addition to regular chores at the family home, he carried and delivered newspapers for The Oregon Journal. Earnings from that job paid for his first bicycle.
Soon after high school graduation, Bill began work in the production department at Bemis Company, a bag manufacturer that operated a plant there later moved to Vancouver.
It was while working at Bemis that he met Gladys Irene Florea who had recently moved to St. Helens from Bonners Ferry, ID, where she herself had just graduated from high school. Gladys was to become his wife of nearly 60 years. They were married June 16, 1944, in Vancouver.
Bill worked for Bemis Company for nearly 44 years, retiring in 1986. He advanced regularly in the company, often as a consequence of continuing education. From production work he moved to sewing machine repair, then supervision of the repair unit, then supervisor of the production department and, in the decade leading up to his retirement, plant manager. Under Bill's leadership, the Vancouver plant won national recognition from Bemis for its productivity, product quality, and profitability.
Family was the center of Bill's life, made richer by his and Gladys' participation in church activities. They first were active members of Portsmouth Trinity Lutheran Church in north Portland. For 17 years they were leaders of the church's youth group. When the Cooks moved in 1978 to the Felida area of Clark County, they became active at Messiah Lutheran Church. Bill sang in the senior choirs of both churches-together, for more than 60 years. Bill was active as spiritual mentor to many friends, family, and neighbors.
Bill was a man of numerous interests including golf-often with family members-along with gardening, woodworking, and decades of annual family camping trips to Oregon's Cultus Lake where he challenged family to many competitive games of cribbage.
His homes and gardens, first in Portland, then in Vancouver, were meticulously maintained. In later years, he especially enjoyed shared garden partnerships with his brother Ben. He volunteered his artful maple tree pruning skills to benefit the Messiah Lutheran Church gardens. While still active in his career at Bemis, Bill was a member of Kiwanis, helping in annual fund-raising events to benefit the community.
Bill is survived by his daughters and their husbands, Sorena and Wayne Brusseau, and Paula and Tony Haney; by his sons, William W. Cook III and his partner Gwil Evans, and Lorry Cook and his wife Terri; by grandchildren, Thad Brusseau and his wife Carrie, Trena Humerickhouse and her husband Ron, Noal Cook and his wife Kim, Matney Cook, Steven Snyder, Thomas Snyder and his wife Candice, and Trish Strong and her husband Joey; great-grandchildren, Riley Brusseau, Autumn and Emilee Snyder, Bryce and Seth Humerickhouse, Cannon and Roman Cook, and Ethan Strong; and by his sisters, Shirley Eaton and Delores Paterson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Gladys, in 2004; by his parents; and his siblings, Harold Cook, Murvyn Cook, Wilbur "Dud" Cook, Hazel Sivers, Stanley "Ben" Cook, and Beverley Jones.
A celebration of Bill's life is scheduled for 11 a.m., Sat., March 19, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 905 N.W. 94th Street, Vancouver. Guests are welcome at a brunch that follows.
The family proposes that any gifts made in Bill's memory be directed to the , or to Messiah Lutheran Church.
Please sign Bill's guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits.

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Published in The Columbian on Mar. 8, 2011
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