Vanna L. Cook
Vanna L. Cook Naples, FL Vanna L. Cook, 83, of Naples, Florida, passed away on April 12th, 2017, surrounded by family. She was preceded in death by her husband Kermit Cook, her parents Myles and Veva Young, brothers-in-law, Bill Easter and Keith Cook, son-in-law Jim North, and grandson, Christian North. Vanna's life was defined by love; love of God and the church, family, and education. Her life embodied the true essence of love which she shared with her husband Kermit for 64 years and her five children, Lori Cook North, Sheri Cook-Cunningham, Jennette Kilroy, Jim Cook, and Jon Cook. She welcomed her sons-in-law, Jim North, Kevin Cunningham, and David Kilroy into the family and made them a part of the many Cook Family Traditions. She loved spending time with her 12 grandchildren, Nicole Rodriguez, Christian North, Adam North, Erin North, Alissa Cunningham, Daniel Cunningham, Maggie Cunningham, Ciara Kilroy, Liam Kilroy, Catherine Kilroy, Madelyn Cook, and William Cook, and her great-grandchildren, Lily North, Graham North, Jack Rodriquez, and Juliette Rodriquez. Her grandchildren enjoyed their grandma's fun-loving spirit and the time they got to spend with her in Muscatine, Iowa and Naples, Florida. She relished time with her sisters, Meredith and Susan, her best friends and confidants. Vanna grew up at a time when family remained close by and the church was the focal point of the community. Awakening every morning to the 7 am whistle and walking home from school for lunch when the noon whistle blew, Vanna was part of a tight-knit family. Her grandparents lived just a few blocks away and Vanna enjoyed visiting them often. Growing up in the small town of Winterset, Iowa, she lived in a home graced with a big beautiful porch, a timeless place where one felt the echo of summers past, a playhouse in the back, and a big yard surrounded by open fields. Their yard was always full of playmates and she and her two sisters spent many happy hours playing dolls in the little playhouse. However, the most fun she had was when she and the neighbors played army, transforming their playhouse into a fort and using the entire backyard as their battlefield. Vanna developed her love for God and the church from the example set by her parents. They actively participated in their respective churches, her father at the Presbyterian Church and her mother as the church organist and choir director at the Methodist Church, where Vanna attended Sunday School and church. She passed on her faith to her children, raising them in the First United Presbyterian Church in Muscatine, Iowa. She met her future husband, Kermit, when he moved to Winterset at the age of 12 years and moved into her neighborhood. Starting as friends, they became high school sweethearts, attended Simpson College together and married over Christmas break in 1953. They moved to Muscatine, Iowa as a young couple and raised all five children in the same house. In an era when it was not commonplace for women to work or go to college, Vanna did both. Coming from a family in which both parents had college degrees, Vanna received her two-year teaching license from Simpson College and taught school in nearby New Virginia. She later returned to college at the age of 40 to complete her four-year teaching degree. She shared her dedication to education with her many second-grade students during her 18-year career at Garfield Elementary School. The front porch of their Muscatine home welcomed all Vanna's friends and family. She loved sitting on the porch where Kermit and Vanna could often be seen reading the newspaper, talking and having their morning coffee together. She and Kermit greeted each child on the front porch when they came home for college breaks and waved goodbye to them when they left. With the crickets in the background and the summer breezes blowing across the porch, Vanna was never too busy to talk with her children and grandchildren and the porch remains an important symbol of precious family time. Vanna believed that parents should be flexible about the varied wants, needs, and talents of their children and demonstrated this belief through her support of each of their individual interests. She attended all her children's many athletic events, school functions, and music concerts, often offering an honest and frank appraisal of their performance. She pushed her children to make full use of their talents and potential, reminding them to remain humble and let their actions speak for themselves. One of her most often used phrases was, "Never toot your own horn." Vanna faced the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease at age 75 with courage and dignity. She openly shared her diagnosis with family and friends and left a legacy of memories in a journal she wrote for her children. In her journal, she shared that the hardest thing she had ever done was to receive the diagnosis, yet she continued to guide those around her towards acceptance of this disease. Vanna's love for others was shared with her caregivers even at a time when her illness prevented her from communicating that through words. Her caregivers became her friends and showered her with great affection. The love of her life, her "Cookie," stayed by her side until his death last summer. When asked to define love, Vanna wrote, "Love is hard to explain. It's just there in your heart." This deep and abiding love remained unbroken, providing her children and grandchildren with a blueprint for their own lives and families A celebration of Vanna's life will be held on Sunday, April 16th at 10:30 a.m. in the Waterview Room at Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105. Memorials in Vanna's name may be made to Avow Hospice or the Alzheimer's Support Network, 660 Tamiami Trail N., Unit 21, Naples, FL 34102. For online condolences, please visit fullernaples.com .
... Show More