Last night at 6:55 pm, Susan’s dad, Paul C. Cooke, Jr., went to be with the Lord. For the last two years of his life we had the privilege of having him live with us. During this time, his Parkinson’s and dementia steadily worsened, leading to his death.
Mr. Cooke served in the Navy at the end of WWII. He was the father of two, my wife Susan, and Paul C. Cooke III, of New Castle, Delaware. An industrial engineer by trade, he was employed for years by Fleer, a Philadelphia company that produces baseball cards and bubble gum. Mr. Cooke was also a pilot. In his younger years, he enjoyed flying his own plane. He loved yard work and landscaping, especially the many shrubs that he tenderly cared for. A long time member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, he also was a Grand Master for the state of PA.
Mr. Cooke had a caretakers heart, himself taking care of his mother, Mary, his wife, Winnifred, and his friend, Eleanor, before their deaths.
He was a long-time resident of Bucks County, PA, where he lived at 224 Andover Rd., Fairless Hills since 1957.
He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Sr., his mother, Mary, his sisters, Anna and Faye, and his brother, David. He is survived by brother, Reg, and sister, Paula. In addition to his son and daughter, Mr. Cooke is survived by five grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.
Though cautious and prudent in many areas, he was also known as a fearless and sometimes reckless driver, one not easily intimidated by the eastern big city drivers.
Partial to seafood, many of his meals during the last few years he was at home were taken at Dom’s, a local seafood market. More of a market than a restaurant, the owners installed a table known as Paul’s table. When he arrived, he seldom ordered. Instead, he waited patiently until his plate appeared with whatever the kitchen had decided he would have that day. Never a fast eater, he then spent a couple of hours savoring every bite.
Soon after his arrival in our home, before his dementia set in, I had the privilege to talk to him regarding his spiritual condition. On a dark, cold winter night, he bowed his head, prayed the Sinner’s Prayer and invited Christ into his heart. Susan, who has prayed for her Dad for over 43 years, sat in tears as she watched her dad, with tears of his own, acknowledge that he was a sinner in need of a Saviour.
It is our conviction that he is more alive today than he has ever been. His earthly tent, the body he had inhabited, left our home at approximately 9:30 pm, accompanied by an undertaker. His spirit, accompanied by a heavenly host, left two-and-a-half hours earlier. Heaven now becomes much richer and more real to us, especially to Susan.
Family trauma during Susan's infancy fragmented the family, leaving Susan feeling abandoned and different from other children. She remembers crying, "I want a daddy like other girls and boys." God, in His providence, gave her two years with her dad at the close of his life. "I was so proud," she said, "to have my dad for two years, to share my home with him, to love him and to be loved by him. What a special gift God gave me."
For the many of you who have asked about and prayed for Mr. Cooke over the past two years, we would like to say, "Thank you." Susan is looking forward to traveling with me. She is excited about getting to know our churches and our people better.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you send gifts to: The Vision Fund of ENY-NE, 793 Corinth Rd., Queensbury, NY 12804. This fund aids in team building and leadership development in our district.
Susan and I would like to acknowledge the caregivers who have helped in our home, especially Mandy Starks who was with him at the end. We believe each one was a gift of God and a divine appointment. We have no regrets over the care that Mr. Cooke received. Also, we are grateful to Homeward Bound program of Hudson Headwaters Health Network and High Peaks Hospice who were generous with their care during Mr. Cooke's illness.
Finally, we are grateful to our God, who knowingly guided us to the northeast 'for such a time as this'. We eagerly anticipate his continued guidance.