Rosemary Wills Cook, 80
Rosemary Wills Cook, 80, peacefully went home to be with her Lord on Feb. 10, 2018, surrounded by family. She was born in Helena, Mont., Dec. 15, 1937, to Goldie Belle Wills. She is the oldest of seven children born to her mother and her father, Glenn Griggs.
Rosemary was raised by her maternal grandparents, Rose and Jacob Wills, until their untimely death when she was 14. After that she was raised by her maternal aunt, Helen Sorenson, and Helen’s husband, Tommy. Rosemary went to Mount Ellis Academy from age 14 until she graduated high school at 18. The friends she made there were lifelong; she considered them family. Rosemary was a constant member of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church where she loved celebrating Sabbath each week.
Rosemary attended her first year of college in Walla Walla, Wash. In May 1957, she and her girlfriend decided to move to Spokane for summer jobs. This is when she met the love of her life, John Leslie Cook. Three months later, on Aug. 25, they married. They lived in Spokane for 40 years where she served as an equal partner with John in the operation of their long-time company — Cook Bros. Steel Buildings. In 1996, they found their waterfront dream home on the Spokane River that was big enough for entertaining their ever-expanding family. Relatives and friends from all corners of the country would congregate at their house, park their RVs or pile into the many bedrooms and make beautiful memories together.
To Rosemary, family was everything. Her faith, her career, and having fun with John, family and friends were the highlights of her life. She enjoyed water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, boating, fishing with John, singing, playing the ukulele, traveling, camping, snowmobiling, bowling and knitting.
Rosemary believed in giving her children all kinds of opportunities; she worked hard to make sure they got the best of everything. She was their Room Mother, Bluebird and Camp Fire leader, and Den Mother. At age 50, after her children were grown and gone, Rosemary graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BA degree in business education. She worked the last 28 years for the Spokane County Community Services as an accountant, where she was a full-time employee until her very last days on earth!
Every friend she met became “family.” Rosemary was a kind soul with a gentle heart; she was well loved by family and friends. She spent the last decade of John’s life caring for him while continuing to work full-time. John and Rosemary enjoyed over 56 years of happiness together until John’s death on Feb. 17, 2014. It was only in the last year of life that she found out who her biological father was: Richard A. Nitschke (deceased); she then learned she was the oldest of her father’s three children and she got to meet her ‘new’ half-brothers, Jon and Dennis, and some of Jon’s family, last summer for the very first time. This was her long-awaited joy.
Rosemary is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved husband, John Leslie Cook; her brother, Greg Griggs and his wife, Jeannie. She is survived by her daughter, Lori Cook Newman Tatt (Ken) of Lacey, Wash.; her son, Ken Thomas Cook (Jeanene) of Puyallup, Wash.; her son, John Michael Cook (Cindy) of Brewster, Wash.; eight grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings, Glenda Hohn (Gilbert), Dennis Griggs (Diane), Fern Stanton (George), Brenda White, deceased Feb. 20 (Chip), Bryan Griggs and Jon and Dennis Nitschke. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service is planned to celebrate Rosemary’s life at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Summit NW Ministries (SDA Church), 1486 W. Seltice Way, Post Falls, ID 83854 (208-773-5950), with a reception to follow. Contributions can be made in Rosemary’s name to: Mount Ellis Academy, 3641 Bozeman Trail Road., Bozeman, MT 59715 (406-587-5178). Contact Lori Tatt for more info: 425-941-9486.