MERIDEN - Kathryn Joan Cooke, 91, passed away Friday, June 28, 2013, at The Bradley Home in Meriden, where she had been a resident for several years. She had previously lived on Eaton Avenue. Kay, as she was widely known, was a lifelong resident of Meriden.
Born in Hartford the middle of five children, she was the daughter of Edward Emmet and Honora McGuire Cooke and grew up on West Main Street, a few blocks from St Joseph's school where she was educated. A lifeguard at Baldwin Pond, she later graduated from Larson Junior College, which subsequently became part of Quinnipiac College. Kay spent her 37 year career at New Departure, a division of General Motors
, for many years making the daily commute to Bristol, finishing her years there as secretary to the General Manager. She was president of the Rosary Society at St. Joseph's and a member of the Meriden Council of Catholic Women as part of a deep commitment to her faith. She was a 2009 recipient of the St Joseph Medal of Appreciation awarded by Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell. Kay was membership chairman of both the Friends of the Meriden Library and the Wallingford Hospital Auxiliary. She was active on the Board of Directors for the local council of the Girl Scouts and the local chapter of the American Red Cross, a longtime member of the Connecticut Historical Society, and a member of Mensa. Perhaps her finest gift to the community was as one of the founders of the St. Joseph Soup Kitchen (later the Meriden Soup Kitchen), where she volunteered for over 20 years. She closed out her career of service late in life as President of The Meriden Kiwanis Club. Kay lived with and cared for her mother for much of her adult life, but was also called upon regularly by countless friends to run errands and assist others, which she did with unfailing good humor. She was a tireless Boston Red Sox supporter and delighted in their success late in her life. Kay travelled widely and with enthusiasm to Europe, Africa and Australia always with her camera close by, resulting in slideshows for the family once she returned home. She will be remembered by those who knew her as a selfless optimist, helping both friends and strangers in the city she never left. Always able to live in and enjoy the present, when at a birthday party or other celebratory event she would unfailingly remark "Isn't this nice?"
She was predeceased by sisters, Elizabeth (Betty) Pelrin Goldenbloome and Dorothy Cooke Reinman; and by a brother, Jack Cooke. She is survived by a sister in Meriden, Roberta Cooke Gibson; and by several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be at The John J. Ferry Funeral Home on Monday, July 1, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph's Church at 11 a.m. Burial will be at the family plot within Sacred Heart cemetery. Contributions may be made to The Meriden Soup Kitchen, PO Box 2138, Meriden or to St Joseph's School.
The family extends its deep appreciation to the staff of The Bradley Home for the outstanding care provided during Kay's final years. For online condolences please visit www.jferryfh.com