Donald T. Cooke 88, of Malden, MA and Largo, FL. Died peacefully on March 4, 2020 after a short illness, with his family at his side. Born in Boston on April 21, 1931 to the late C. Thomas Cooke and Mary (LeMoure ) Cooke McInnis. After attending schools in East Boston, where he spent his youth, he embarked on a 22-year career with the U.S. Army, serving in both the Korean Conflict with the 1st Cavalry Division, and the Vietnam War. During his service he received numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star with V Device, several Purple Hearts and two Presidential Unit Citations. In 1968, during a so-called peace-time tour of duty in South Korea, he stood at the edge of Freedom Bridge and welcomed the released Navy crew of the USS Pueblo as they marched across it following their release from imprisonment by the North Koreans. Then-Staff Sergeant Cooke recalled, in a 1968 interview with the Malden Evening News, the "remorseful smile" of Pueblo Capt. Lloyd Bucher of Melrose, MA as he walked slowly and stiff-legged to liberty. Sergeant Cooke had himself been a prisoner of the North Koreans during the 1950-1954 Conflict for some 23 days prior to effecting his escape, travelling by night, hiding by day, until encountering friendly troops. Following the Korean War, and during a break in service, he became a ranking heavyweight boxer, using the professional name Chico Valdez. He fought 105 matches and in 1953 he boxed with Brockton's Rocky Marciano, then World Heavyweight Champion, in a 3-round Exhibition bout at the famous Cow Palace in San Francisco. Retiring from the Army as a Non-Commissioned Officer (SFC) in 1973, he joined the Middlesex County Sheriff's Dept., where he was employed for 11 years. Following that second retirement, he worked part-time at the Boston Stock Exchange for 8 years. He was a former Mason. He belonged to Ring 4 Veteran Boxers Association; VFW Post 639 of Malden; and the American Legion. He was an avid Red Sox and Boston Bruins fan. In 1989 he purchased a home in Largo, FL and spent the ensuing years dividing his time between Massachusetts and Florida, where he enjoyed the water, bike riding, and nature walks. He was a congregant of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in nearby Clearwater, FL. He was the beloved husband of Eleanor (Hanscom); devoted father of Sheryl (Cooke) Pesce and fiance David Roberts of Manchester, N.H., and Theodore Hanscom Cooke and his wife, Daphne, of Ashburnham, MA. And was 'Papa' to his grandchildren Sara (Mitch) Terra, and Edward, Dakota (Grant Beattie), and Savannah Cooke. Also Great-Grandpapa to Macey Terra and Cole Beattie. Mr. Cooke was also the dear brother of Elizabeth (Paul) Gangi, Regina (Tony) Dell Isola, Janice McInnis, the late George, John, and Edward McInnis; Thomas McInnis, Carolyn (Ward) McLaughlin, Gary (Pauline) Cooke, Richard (Joan) Cooke, and Thomas (Diane) Cooke; much admired brothers-in-law William Scally and Gerald Frazier and dear sister-in-law Susan(Russ) Bennett. He is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to Wounded Warrior Project
. Interment at Forestdale Cemetery, Malden, MA at a date to be announced.