Life Story / Obituary
Rose Cooke fulfilled many roles in her lifetime, yet the role of mother was her greatest joy. With her nurturing spirit, Rose displayed the love and character of everything a mother should be. She placed the needs of her family first, and with ways all her own, she loved unconditionally. Although independent by nature, Rose could be strong willed at times which sometimes proved to be a blessing through life’s challenges. Gone but never to be forgotten are the wonderful memories she leaves behind.
Born on December 13, 1925, in Traverse City, Michigan, Rose Mary was the daughter of Lawrence and Gertrude (Borough) Day. A time of rapid growth in the U.S., the Chrysler auto firm was founded and the Mount Rushmore National Monument was dedicated as families flocked to the area on vacations. Baseball was America’s favorite pastime at a time when Chaplin movies were all the rage. The youngest of seven children, young Rose Mary joined her older siblings, Gladys, Clifford, Helen, Vernon, Irma, and Lena and was affectionately referred to by her siblings as, “Babe.”
Rose enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. She took in shared adventures with neighborhood friends and found much to keep her imagination and youthful energy busy. Always close to her father, Rose and her family experienced his untimely death when Rose was merely seven years old. Although already difficult times, the onset of the Great Depression cast a shadow of financial hardship on all, and Rose’s family was no exception. Her mother later remarried, and Amaziah “Bud” Hubball took on Rose and her siblings as his own.
Rose attended elementary and high school in Traverse City. After high school, she took a job as a waitress making ten cents an hour, and she also worked as a clerk at one of the local dime stores. A hard worker indeed, she also picked cherries for ten cents a lug which usually came out to eight quarts.
Having met Robert C. Cooke, a local disc jockey through one of her friends at a local restaurant, Rose soon became acquainted with Robert and they began dating. Deeply in love, the couple was happily married on June 21, 1947, at Ashbury Church in Traverse City. After taking a quick honeymoon to Grand Rapids, Michigan, they made their home in Traverse City for several years before making Grand Rapids their permanent home. Rose and Robert lived with his parents there while building their new house on Manning NW where they would live the remainder of their lives together.
Rose’s husband later took a job as a stonecutter, inscribing cemetery headstones and monuments. In time he began his own business, Wolverine Lettering. During this time, Rose was a loving mother to their four children, Cheri, Lester, LouAnn, and Robert B. Cooke. While raising their bustling household, Rose also did the books for her husband’s business. She made a good home for Robert and the kids where numerous, unforgettable memories were made and shared. Their family attended Richmond Reformed Church, and the kids all attended Kenowa Hills or Union High Schools. Their family made a memorable trip to Florida once, driving there in their coveted 1954 Ford station wagon. Each year they also traveled to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival and to visit extended family.
A wonderful decorator, Rose had an eye for detail and was quite talented at it. She loved browsing through books and magazines for home decorating ideas. In her free time, Rose took pottery and painting classes. As an avid reader, she loved books authored by Danielle Steele and Janet Evanovich. In her earlier years, Rose often canned tomatoes with her mother and for a while, she kept a small garden. The sounds of her youth delighted Rose. She especially loved the big band sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Frank Sinatra. When it came to cooking, Rose was in her element. She was a wonderful cook of delicious meals which always included three square meals. Meat and potatoes were a staple at her dinner table, and her scrumptious cheesecakes will never be forgotten.
Rose never drove and was dependent on others for rides. It was especially difficult as her husband spent each day from dawn to dusk cutting headstones in cemeteries and wasn’t there to drive her. When he surprised Rose with a new Mustang Gia and told her to get her driver’s license, Rose was elated to do so. However, on her first venture out with the new car, a tire blew out and it scared her so that she never drove again!
Rose’s son, Bob learned the family business and eventually took it over. She and her husband often went to their favorite restaurant, Duba’s on the West Side for dinner for many years, and together they shared the blessing of many friendships. Duba’s was also the place where for years they met for family holiday dinners and get-togethers. With her outgoing and fun-loving nature, Rose became friends with many of the staff there and socialized with them often, too.
As a couple, Rose and Robert were looking forward to their retirement years together. However, when Robert retired at the age of 69, he was soon diagnosed with lung cancer, and very soon after, he sadly passed away on September 5, 1992. Although it took some time, life went on for Rose. She loved spending time with her grandkids and she loved them dearly, never forgetting their birthdays or other special days. She continued to remain active with her family and many friends, enjoying a full, busy life of independence.
Even when Rose developed breast cancer and underwent radiation, it barely slowed her down. She also had, “the gout” as she called it, but a fall resulting in a broken hip and pelvis began to take their toll on Rose. When this last May she suffered a debilitating stroke, Rose eventually moved in with her son, Bob and his family where she was lovingly cared for and where she was placed under the care of hospice three days ago. There, in the loving presence of her family, Rose peacefully died.
To know Rose Cooke was to love her. Even through her strong will, Rose could be very funny at times. She truly blessed her family with her loving presence, and her concern for those she loved knew no bounds. Deeply missed, Rose will be lovingly remembered as a treasure in the hearts of those she leaves behind.
Rose Mary Cooke, aged 90 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday evening, June 25, 2016, with her family at her side. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert C. Cooke, her grandson, Michael R. Newhouse, and her son-in-law, Richard Newhouse. She is survived by her children, Cheri Newhouse, Lester and Pam Cooke, LouAnn and Rick Marklevitz, Bob and Mona Cooke; her grandchildren, Jill (Mike) Waalkes, Jennifer (Beau) Oldfield, Jacob Marklevitz, Jeffrey (Chenoa) Marklevitz, Jeffrey (Heather) Ellsworth, Joseph Ellsworth, Michelle Ellsworth, Alana Cooke (Eric Mahler), and Christina Cooke; 11 great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and friends. A service to celebrate Rose’s life will be held on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home–2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Greenwood Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 PM, and again Wednesday from 10:00 AM until the service begins. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Ronald McDonald House. To read more about Rose’s life, to leave your own memory of her and to sign her online guest book, please visit her webpage at www.lifestorynet.com.