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Kelly Jean Cook


1963 - 2019
Kelly Jean Cook Obituary
Kelly Jean Cook

Las Cruces - Kelly Jean Cook passed away on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in Las Cruces NM. Born in California on February 11, 1963 to Don B. and Susanne E. Cook, Kelly was the oldest of three children, sharing her early life with two younger brothers. After her father completed graduate school at UC Davis in 1965, the family moved to Santa Fe, NM where she spent her years through high school. Always a restless soul, Kelly left high school after her junior year to complete her diploma and begin college at Puget Sound University in Washington. She also attended St. John's College in Santa Fe (where our dad taught) and in Annapolis, MD. However, she would not complete a college degree until later in life.

Instead, the pull of travel and adventure led her to faraway places such as Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Hawaii. Many of her travels were for job opportunities, such as serving as a personal massage therapist for a Saudi princess. Among her other jobs, she worked in restaurants in Australia, served as a steward on an exclusive yacht in the Mediterranean, and was a nanny for children in an African bush tribe. She had a remarkable knack for finding unique opportunities, but most of all she had the courage to pursue them in places that would seem hostile to most westerners.

Kelly loved animals, especially dogs. Half of the dogs of our childhood were strays or puppies brought home by Kelly (never with permission of our parents). She maintained this love throughout her life, adopting many dogs and working for a time at the Dona Ana County Humane Society and for a local vet.

But her true calling was always as a healer, and during these travels she trained extensively in massage and other non-traditional forms of therapy. She later worked in hospice care, provided assistance to people with advanced MS and severe physical injury and, for a time, ran her own massage therapy business. Ultimately, she decided to follow in her mother's footsteps and purse a degree in nursing, which she obtained from Vista College in Las Cruces in 2012. In the years preceding her death she worked at several hospitals and care facilities around Southern New Mexico.

Kelly was preceded in death by her mother, Susanne in 1999, and is survived by her father, Don, brothers Rand and Casey, sisters-in-law Cindy and Celia, and nieces Chelsie, Emily, Jayda and Ella.

The family wishes to thank the health care workers at The Village at Northrise - Desert Willow and at Mesilla Valley hospice for their kindness and attention to Kelly in her final days.

A celebration of Kelly's life will be held in Santa Fe by the family in spring 2020. If interested in attending, please email Casey at [email protected]

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dona Ana County Humane Society in Kelly's name (https://www.dachslc,org/donate; 575-647-4808)

"Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News from Jan. 2 to Jan. 5, 2020
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