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.
Published in The Holland Sentinel on Mar. 19, 2014.