September 16, 1930-February 24, 2021
Nina Cooke, nee Aslanoglou, passed away peacefully after a tenacious fight against the infirmities of old age. Nina led an interesting life. She was born in the London suburb of Ilford, remaining nearby until being evacuated when WWII broke out in 1939. Nina was first sent to Kenilworth, near Coventry, and was there when that city was devastatingly fire-bombed by the Germans in 1940. Later she returned to London and lived through the bombardment by V-1 buzz bombs and V-2 rockets. These events profoundly affected Nina's later life. She remained claustrophobic from her time spent in bomb shelters as a child and disliked remembering her experiences during the war. She did occasionally talk about the many deprivations Britons suffered during the war and from post-war austerity. In the 1950s Nina lived in Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk and enjoyed working as a telephone operator.
In 1962 Nina immigrated to the U.S. on the liner S.S. United States, passing through a North Atlantic hurricane on her voyage. She joined her sister Hazel in Columbia, MO. There, Nina again worked as a telephone operator. In 1964 Nina met her future husband, U.S. Air Force officer Lowell Cooke, who was attending graduate school at the Univ. of Missouri. They married in London in 1967 and spent two years in Wiesbaden, Germany while Lowell was stationed there.
They returned to Washington, D.C. in 1968 when Lowell was stationed at the Pentagon. Nina very proudly became an American citizen in 1972. After Lowell's retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1972, they lived in Pass Christian and Oxford, MS, Douglas, AZ, San Carlos, CA, and ultimately moved to Monterey in 1977. They settled into a happy life and Nina spent much of her time creating some of the world's most delicious dinners, gardening, and caring for the many cats she adopted through the years. Nina and Lowell also traveled extensively throughout the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and China. Lowell died in 2011 and Nina continued to travel. She loved her trip to Portugal and particularly her cruise to Greece, fulfilling her life-long dream of visiting the home of her father's forebears.
Nina was predeceased by her husband Lowell, parents John and Margaret, brother Raymond, and stepdaughter Victoria. She is survived by stepsons Michael (Sarah) of Tulsa, OK, and Thomas (Bradley) of San Francisco, sister Hazel, and a number of step-grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as cousins and their families in England.
Nina's ashes will be scattered at sea, joining those of her husband. The family thanks the staffs of Casa Carmel and Bridge Hospice for their wonderful care for Nina in her last months. Nina was an ardent animal lover and donations to the Monterey SPCA in lieu of flowers would be most appreciated. View the online memorial for Nina Cooke