If the names of extraordinary women are entered into a book upon their death, the name of Margaret Mary (Stephens) Cook was entered on March 30, 2014. Margaret Mary Cook's name could be entered not because of a big extraordinary event but rather because of how extraordinarily she kept things in simple perspective. Her simple perspective could be summed up in the following: Be Welcoming, Be Caring, Be Loving. And, her secret on how to do these things was to above all else Be Prayerful.
Margaret Mary Stephens (Margie) was born on August 25, 1926 to Ira and Nellie Stephens in Greeley, Nebraska. She was the third of seven children. She attended the country school outside of Greeley and then went to Sacred Heart High School in Greeley. She cherished her religious education classes from the Dominican Sisters but often said her mother Nellie Stephens was her first example of love and faith.
As a child she loved the farm life and her horse Trixie, which was actually the family horse. She also began her love of softball at an early age. She was the smallest player on the team which earned her the nickname Wimpy. She played catcher, so her daughter Peg didn't have a chance to play anything else but catcher.
She first met the love of her life, Joe Cook, while attending Sacred Heart High School. They did not date until after she graduated in 1942. After Graduation she attended Normal School training and became a teacher. She taught at the one room school house outside of Greeley, the one she attended as a youth. She often said that teaching first through eighth grades in a one room school house was one of the best experiences of her life. She was a teacher at heart. Even though she didn't continue as a teaching professional, she continued to teach from her heart, especially forgiveness.
On August 12, 1946 she married Joe D. Cook. They lived on a little farm outside of Greeley and in their first year of marriage her brother Don Stephens lived with them because her mother and father the rest of the family had moved to New Plymouth, Idaho. They only lived in Greeley one more year before she and Joe and Don moved to New Plymouth. When they first moved to New Plymouth she picked fruit and worked in the packing houses. While in New Plymouth they welcomed their children Karen, Nick and Peg to their young family. While in New Plymouth Joe and Margie were offered the opportunity to invest their life savings in the Overhead Door Co. of Southwest Idaho. They accepted the offer and moved to Boise, Id. in 1957. In 1959 they expanded their family with the birth of Ron and in 1963 Dominic was born.
In the early years of building the company Margie would watch the kids and answer the phone while Joe was out installing and selling doors. In the evenings she would help him put the hardware on the doors so he could go install them the next day.
While building the business they made sure that they continued to build their young family's faith. They were involved in Sacred Heart Parish and school in Boise. Margie would go and assist in whatever ways she could in the parish and school. She became a good friend of many of the Sisters who taught at Sacred Heart. All of her kids would remember her making cinnamon rolls for the nuns and having to accept the reject rolls for themselves. Margie helped out in many ways at Sacred Heart and all of the kids remember her working in the kitchen on hotdog day.
As the business grew Margie would take time off during the day to make sure she went to daily mass. She would often go to St. Alphonsus Hospital and attend daily mass and then go visit those who were sick in the hospital and take Holy Communion to them. She then began to take communion to those who were incarcerated at the Ada County Jail. Visiting the sick and those who were home bound a joy for Margie as she often said it was a gift to share the love of Christ with others.
All the while she was doing all of these things family was the most important part of her life. She would often say that if there was family to visit or a family function the house cleaning could wait. As noted above, Margie was a teacher and taught all of her children and nieces and nephews that being a welcoming, caring and loving person was the most important thing in life.
Upon retiring Margie was able to spend more time being a witness to being welcoming, caring and loving. She got even more involved in her new parish, St. Marks. She was involved in starting the prayer chain and the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. Once the chapel was built she would spend hours praying for those on the prayer chain and those who had asked her to pray for them. She was once given a key to Sacred Heart Church so that she could go there and pray for those in that parish who were on their prayer chain after the church was locked.
Margie was often asked to be the sponsor for those who were joining the Catholic faith. She loved sharing her faith with everyone. For Ma, being a person of prayer and devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ was of utmost importance. Second to that was her devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who she saw as the first witness of being a welcoming, caring and loving person. She always believed that the Virgin Mary was the first person to have a relationship with Jesus and if she could in any way imitate that example she would do anything to do it. She saw in praying the Rosary a way of following that example.
When it came to food, Margie will always be remembered for her fried chicken, cinnamon rolls and homemade ice cream all of which were made in the spirit of welcoming, caring and loving.
If you ever met Margie you most likely felt your were the most important person on the earth. In the spirit of being welcoming and caring she always made those she was talking to feel as if they were the most important people on earth at that time. And, in the spirit of loving she always made people feel as if Christ himself had just spent time with them.
Margie was preceded in death by her parents, Ira and Nellie Stephens; husband, Joe Cook and sons: Nick and Dominic; brothers: Harold, Ray, and Lyle Stephens; sisters: Rosella Campo and Helen Hall and great-grandson, Blake.
She is survived by her children: Karen Cook, Peg Cook and daughter-in-law, Linda VanSlyke and son, Ron Cook; grandsons: J.D. Childs (Kelly), Steve Childs (Cynthianna), Lonnie Childs, Adam Bingham; six great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson due in April.
The family would like to thank Heart and Home Hospice, especially Alex and Michelle. We would also like to thank all of our family and friends who helped in the care giving of ma during her final hours.
A viewing will be held from 5:00 - 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 3rd with a Vigil service beginning at 7:00 PM at St. Mark's Catholic Community, 7960 West Northview in Boise. Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Rob Cook at 10:30 AM on Friday, April 4th at St. Mark's Catholic Community. Interment will be at Cloverdale Memorial Park. Remembrances may be left for the family at www.AccentFuneral.com. Services are under the direction of Accent Funeral Home, Meridian.
In lieu of flowers memorial may be made in Margie's name to the St. Mark's Adoration Chapel Fund.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Apr. 2, 2014
Accent Funeral Home
1303 North Main Street Meridian, ID 83642