Jean (Rivenburgh) Cook
1929 - 2014
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Jean Rivenburgh Cook, age 85, of Holland, died Monday, March 17, 2014, at her home under hospice care and surrounded by her loving family.

Born in Albany, New York, February 28, 1929, to Charles and Ida Rivenburgh, she grew up in Columbia County until moving to Michigan to attend Hope College. She graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a teaching certificate. She married Hope graduate James Cook of Grand Rapids that same year.

After teaching school for a short time in Holland, Jean moved to Blawenburg, New Jersey, where she and Jim served a Reformed church while Jim pursued further education at Princeton Seminary. In that small town church Jean often played piano and organ, assisted with youth groups, and occasionally taught Sunday school in addition to raising their four children.

In 1963, Jim was called to teach at Western Seminary so the family moved back to Holland. In addition to child rearing, Jean substitute taught and was involved in many church, college, and seminary service groups. On a national level she was active in Reformed Church Women and chaired its 1980 Triennial in Miami Beach, Florida. When Jim was elected President of the RCA's General Synod in the 1980's, she toured the mission sites of the Middle East and Asia with him.

Jean was a wonderfully compassionate woman who believed in personal interaction and handwritten notes. She knew the names of the bank cashiers, her post woman, and the store clerks where she shopped. She was once invited to the wedding of a waitress at a favorite restaurant. She loved to engage people and hear their stories and she always remembered them.

She was a member of Hope Church for more than 50 years, and in 1985, was the first woman to serve as vice-president of consistory. In recent years, besides brisk walks with her dog and taking care of her home and garden, she volunteered as a mentor with Kids Hope. Jean was also serving a current term on the Hope Church consistory as an elder.

She was preceded in death by her son, Paul Brian Cook in 1982; and husband James I. Cook in 2007.

Surviving are her children, Mark and Janet Cook of Holland, Carol Cook and Lynn Roberson of Louisville, KY, and Timothy and Linda Cook of Holland; grandson, Brian Cook and René Hartig of Portland, OR; granddaughters, Anna and Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook of Boston, MA, and Maggie Cook of Austin, TX; brothers-in-law, Roger and Arlene Cook of Wyoming and Robert Cook of Pineville, LA; many nieces and nephews; and her beloved golden retriever, Addie.

The memorial service is Thursday, March 20, at Hope Church, 77 West 11th St., with Rev. Gordon Wiersma and Rev. Jill Russell officiating. A private family burial will be in Pilgrim Home Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the James I. Cook Endowment in Christianity and Literature at Western Theological Seminary, or Resthaven Care Center.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Holland Sentinel on Mar. 19, 2014.
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14 entries
March 23, 2014
Jean was such a good friend to my mom, Fran Wilterdink. She will be missed.
March 22, 2014
I will be forever grateful that I knew Jean (and Jim) Cook. They both attended my ordination service in Powell, Ohio in June 2003. Jim gave an inspiring message that day. Several years after Jim's death, Jean mailed me his sermon manuscript from my ordination and included a very uplifting note. What a gift! It's something I will always cherish. Thank you, Jean, for all your many kindnesses and for showing me Christ's unconditional love.
Rev. Steve Pierce
March 20, 2014
To the entire Cook family--Our loving prayers and thoughts are with you. Jean and Jim Cook had such a profound impact upon our life, during the seminary years and beyond. So gracious and warm...even when we hosted them for lunch in our non air-conditioned home on a 90+ degree summer day. So grateful for the gift of their life, and all those whom they touched so remarkably. Mary & Tom Bartha (Pompton Lakes, New Jersey)
March 20, 2014
Jean was a kind and wonderful hostess to seminary students over the years - I particularly remember a fantastic chicken salad she served to us summer Greek students in the summer of 1997 - outside in their beautiful yard I believe. Blessings to her family.
Sara Beaver Vogel
March 20, 2014
Jean was a mentor to my grand-daughter and Haylee always beamed on the days she was with Jean. She will be missed but not forgotten.
Donna VandeVusse
March 20, 2014
Jean was the best example of a gentle Christian woman, loving wife, tender mother, and a dear friend. We will all miss her dearly. Our love to her family.
Jackie and Patrick Donnelly
March 19, 2014
Mrs. Cook was a wonderful woman. My family and I feel blessed to have known her. We always enjoyed our time with her. I will forever be grateful for the love and kindness she showed Madelynn. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Julie DeHaan
March 19, 2014
What can I say? Anything melts in comparison to how wonderful and delightful and bright and caring that Jean was. And IS in my heart always. Deepest sympathy and love to all I you, her beloved family.
Kathy Davelaar
March 19, 2014
I grew up around the corner from Mrs. Cook. Our back yards ran into each other so she would always let my siblings and I play in her back yard (since hers was a lot bigger and had the creek) I always loved seeing her walk her dog almost every day and she would always stop and say hi. She will definitely be missed and our neighborhood will never be the same!
Anna (Ebbers) Beck
March 19, 2014
I'm sorry to hear of Jean's passing. She was so gentle and warm hearted--she had a soul to emulate. Wishing you peace and comfort.
Betsy Emdin
March 19, 2014
What a wonderful person, she will be missed. My sympathy to her family for the loss. I cut your moms hair for years and always enjoyed her presence, we shared some good times together. I feel lucky to have been a part in her life.
Kathleen Daleiden
March 19, 2014
So sad to hear of the sudden passing of your mom. She had to be one of the nicest people I ever met, besides your dad. She reminds me of my own mother who will be 98 next week. So much energy and enthusiasm for life and caring for others. I know you will miss her and I will miss seeing her at Western Theological Seminary. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. LuAnne VanSlooten, Administrative Assistant, Advancement & Communications at WTS.
March 19, 2014
Amy Ingraham
March 19, 2014
To Mark and Janet, Carol and Lynn, Tim and Linda and all the extended family - my deepest sympathies for this loss. All of Holland feels a bit emptier without Jean - she really embodied faith, hope, and love - - and sheer persistence, which I admire very much along with all her other gifts. All of my love to you this in time of grief.
Leanne Van Dyk
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