Alice Luise (Cagwin) Cook (1935 - 2015)

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  • "Alice was not only a talented artist, she was also an..."
    - Stoney Compton
  • "Sorry to hear of your loss Terry, Tom and Cristy. May..."
    - Tim O'Donnell
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Alice Luise Cagwin Cook, age 80, passed away peacefully on December 25, 2015, in Rathdrum, Idaho. Born in San Francisco on Easter Day, April 21, 1935, to Aubrey Dorsey Cagwin and Alice Louise deVeuve, Alice was raised in Marin County, California. She and her late husband, John Paul Cook, moved to Juneau in June, 1957.
Early days in Juneau without a car consisted of packing up the kids, Pooh the Dog, paper bags loaded with food, a rifle, hand lines for fishing and sleeping bags and making the two-mile trek to Harris Harbor in order to board a16-foot boat with a 35hp motor. Camping was sans tent on the beach on Coghlan, Shelter, Admiralty, Horse and Colt Islands. Years of camping and hiking provided some great stories and memories of bear encounters, playing "attack in the grass", hooked sea lions, salmon that got away and generations of dogs festooned with porcupine quills.
The sun-dappled Shrine of St. Therese with the Chilkat Range in the background; a lone mushroom on the forest floor nestled near a spruce trunk; a portrait of an Inupiaq great-grandmother in Point Hope; a fishing boat framed by drooping hemlock branches; lichen covered rocks with the Mendenhall Glacier as a backdrop; six sled dog puppies with heads buried in a food dish; a glazed, kiln-fired ceramic face of an otter with whimsical pine needle whiskers. The exhilarating beauty of Juneau, Alaska, and Alaskan natives served as endless sources of inspiration for Alice's paintings, drawings, etchings and sculptures. In 1982, Alice produced an etching of the iconic dwarf hemlock that still grows on a large, craggy, lichen and moss covered rock just north of their long time home on Stabler's Point in Auke Bay. She named the etching "Auke Bay Survivor". As well as being a talented artist and writer, Alice was an early pioneer and educator for outdoor education while she worked for the US Forest Service in the 1970's.
To her family and those who knew her, Alice was the epitome of charm, grace, wit, humor, creativity and intelligence. She had that special ability to brighten anyone's day with her infectious smile and hilarious stories, often telling on herself about whatever predicament she had happened to fall into and get out of. She lamented more than once that she wished she'd had the nerve to audition for the television show "Jeopardy", which she watched regularly and consistently amazed everyone else in the room with her vast knowledge of almost everything.

Alice had an endless passion and enthusiasm for anything nature related, and often carried a small hand lens with her in order to better view the crystals on a snowflake or the tiny tongues of barnacles. A foray to the freezer in the Cook home usually held surprises for the uninitiated, with birds and small animals in cryogenic stasis. The dining room table was often covered with mushrooms or ferns carefully laid out on white paper in order to make "spore prints".
After a brief stint working for Bill Egan's Governor's Office in 1958-1959, Alice worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as writer and illustrator from 1960 – 1965 and the US Forest Service from 1966 – 1978. She was president of OPALCO, the power cooperative for the San Juan Islands, when she became ill in 2003. She was a tireless volunteer, donating her time and artistic talents to many different causes, including Wolf Hollow, SJ Medical Guild, SJI Artists' Cooperative and the SJI theater where she painted more than one 40 x 10 foot mural for play backdrops. After John's retirement in 1982 they fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a sailboat as they explored the California coast, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska aboard their 28-foot Fisher catamaran "Bullfrog". In 1989, they sold "Bullfrog" and bought a waterfront home in Friday Harbor, Washington where they resided until 2005.
Preceded in death by her husband John, Alice is survived by her brother, Thomas deVeuve Cagwin of Friday Harbor, Washington, son Thomas Cagwin Cook, of Oak Harbor, Washington, daughter Terry Anne Bickmore, of Santa Barbara, California, daughter Cristen Cook Grawcock of Rathdrum, Idaho; grandchildren Rachel and Maxx Grawcock of Rathdrum, Idaho, Chloe and Cooper Bickmore of Pocatello, Idaho; niece Lori Cagwin of Yountville, California, grand nephew Shaun Leavy of Yountville, California and nephew Jonathan Cagwin of San Anselmo, California.
Every home Alice and John owned provided breathtaking views--from their 7th Street home in Juneau, to Stabler's Point in Auke Bay to Haro Strait off San Juan Island. So that they may be a permanent part of the places they so dearly loved, private services will be held for the scattering of ashes for both Alice and John in Haro Strait, Washington and Auke Bay, Alaska this coming summer.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Mar. 25 to Apr. 23, 2016