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1923 - 2013 |
David Alden Herrick Cook-a consummate musician, an early adherent of organic farming, an avid sailor, and a devoted husband and father-died at the age of 90 on May 14, 2013, at home in Waldoboro, Maine.
He was born on March 3, 1923, in New York City, the son of John Alden Cook and Louise Herrick Cook, and grew up in Tenafly and Englewood, N.J.
David attended Englewood School for Boys and was graduated in 1942 from Englewood's Dwight Morrow High School. He then completed officer's training at the New York Merchant Marine Academy and served the rest of
World War II
aboard Liberty ships in the Atlantic and Pacific.
After the war, he studied piano tuning and repair at New York Technical College. A natural musician, David had perfect pitch and could play nearly anything by ear; he was especially proficient on the piano, guitar, and accordion.
With his mellifluous baritone, he wooed the love of his life, Carol Haase Wilson, a widow with a two-year-old daughter. He and Carol were married in Baltimore, Md., on November 26, 1953, and David immediately adopted Carol's young daughter, Dana. Four more children-Louise, Dave, Andy and Margaret-came along between 1954 and 1963.
David and Carol settled in 1954 in Washington, Conn. There, David established his own business tuning and restoring pianos, including for a number of prominent musicians, such as violinist Isaac Stern, conductor Andre Previn, composer Leroy Anderson, and singer Art Garfunkel. He also played guitar in the locally noted Tude Tanguay square dance band.
At the same time, he led the family in a farming enterprise that included, at various times, a one-acre vegetable garden, half a dozen Guernsey milkers, dozens of laying hens, beef cattle, sheep, pigs, turkeys, honeybees, and horses. He and Carol were adherents of organic farming and healthful eating as far back as the mid-1950s and raised nearly all of their own meat, eggs, and vegetables. The children have fond memories of growing up amid the woods, fields, and streams on their Blackville Road farm.
David and Carol also made time for regular picnics and hikes, family sing-alongs, and reading-aloud sessions.
David was a deacon of the First Congregational Church of Washington, and he and Carol were life members of the NAACP.
In addition, David painted hundreds of pieces of colorful, creative folk-art furniture over the years.
In 1986, he and Carol retired to Harrington, Maine. For 21 years, they finally had time to indulge in a passion dating back to childhood for both of them-sailing, on their 31-foot sloop, Halcyon.
In 2007, with David's memory and Carol's mobility failing, they (and their much-loved dog, Bailey) moved in with their daughter Margaret in Waldoboro.
David was, above all, unfailingly gallant-considerate of lonely souls and kind toward those to whom life had dealt a short hand. And throughout his life, he was a magnet for babies and children-entertaining them with witty songs and funny faces.
In his latter years, he remained ever-gracious in the face of Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure. After a month-long hospitalization for pneumonia in March 2013, he returned home under hospice care. It was a time of bonding and love, with much singing, reminiscing, and reading aloud from family favorites, such as A.A. Milne, Kenneth Grahame, Howard Pyle, and Rudyard Kipling.
The family is immensely grateful to Miles Memorial Hospital and Miles Home Health and Hospice of Damariscotta, Maine, for their compassion and support.
David is survived by his beloved wife, Carol; daughter Dana Cook Grossman and her husband, Dan, of Thetford, Vt.; daughter Louise Cook and her partner, Arthur Tashiro, of San Francisco; son Dave and his wife, Joana Jebsen, of Sherman, Conn.; son Andy and his wife, Astrid, of Whale Pass, Alaska; daughter Margaret Cook and her partner, Steve Warren, of Waldoboro; and sister Anne Cook Murphy and her husband, Richard, of New York City.
He is also survived by seven grandchildren-Emily Grossman Reilly and her husband, Tom, of Ashland, Mass.; Joanna Grossman Miller and her husband, Nate, of Stow, Mass.; Matt Cook of Brookfield, Conn.; Darcy and Allyson Cook of Sherman, Conn.; Cecily Cook of Malmo, Sweden; and Spencer Cook of Redway, Calif.; as well as by three great-grandchildren-Meredith and Phoebe Reilly and Nora Miller-and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Edward Cook.
A celebration of David's long and rich life will be held Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 6 Kirby Road, Washington, Conn., followed by a reception in the church's Parish Hall.
Arrangements were handled by Long Funeral Home of Camden, Maine (207-236-0092 or
to leave condolences).
Published in Litchfield County Times on July 9, 2013
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