Catherine "Kay" Purdy Cook, much loved mother and wife for 49 years, passed away to be with the Lord early on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Her family was at her side when she left the world that she loved and enriched. Born in Ravenswood, West Virginia, during the famous January 1937 flood event in the Ohio River Valley, Kay was the oldest child of Walter and Juanita (Wannie) Purdy. After completing High School in Ravenswood, Kay attended Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1958. She was recruited by the California public school system, and following her graduation she began her teaching career in San Diego, Calif. She taught elementary school grades in both San Diego and Riverside counties until the birth of her son in 1969. Kay and her family moved to San Luis Obispo in 1971. She began working for San Luis Coastal Unified School District as a classroom aide in 1976. Kay was a lifelong learner, and in the late 1980s she began attending Cuesta College while also battling breast cancer. In 1988, she received a Certificate in Library Technology, which was the start of an exciting new phase in her career as an Elementary School Library Technician. Starting in 1988, Kay worked at Sinsheimer Elementary School and managed the school's library. She truly loved working with the students, and was tirelessly dedicated to developing a thirst for knowledge in each student she met. Her talent, experience, dedication, and warmth made the library/media center a very special place at the school. Her outstanding work was reflected in several awards over the years, including an Honorary Service Award by the Sinsheimer PTA in 1996, and by having the school's yearbook dedicated to her in 1998. Kay stopped working in the Sinsheimer Library in June 2000 to join her husband in retirement. Kay leaves behind her beloved husband, Bruce Cook; brother and his wife, James and Rita Purdy; son and his wife, Christopher and Elizabeth Cook; and grandson, Ian Cook. Her innumerable friends in the community and extended family members will miss her immensely. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Monday, June 30, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church, on the corner of Marsh and Morro streets in San Luis Obispo. A graveside service and burial in Ravenswood, West Virginia will be held at a future date. Kay was a long-time survivor of cancer and contributed to the Wilshire Hospice Foundation. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to them in her honor, or consider simply "paying it forward" with an act of kindness toward another, as she did on a regular basis.
Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on June 25, 2014