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Obituary for Florence Joan Cook
Florence Joan Cook was born November 6, 1927, the seventh of 11 children born to George and Mary Reis. Florence passed away at her home in Stuart on June 25th, 2018. Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Friday, July 6th at All Saints Catholic Church where a rosary service will be recited at 7:00 P.M. A Memorial Mass will be held 10:00 A.M. Saturday, July 7th at All Saints Catholic Church in Stuart. Burial will be held at a later date in the Iowa Veterans Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the All Saints Catholic Church and/or the American Legion Building Restoration. Online condolences may be left at www.johnsonfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Florence was born at home in rural Sac County, IA and was educated in the Early Iowa schools, graduating with the Early High Class of 1946. The family lived in a series of tenant farm homes through her youth and Florence worked for other families starting at age 10. The strong work ethic and faith she received from her family would remain with her throughout her lifetime. The depression era experience, with only the bare necessities for the family, gave her great empathy for those in need. She remained in Early Iowa for two years after graduating, working at the Nellis Grocery Store. In 1949, she moved to Des Moines and started work at the Brown Hotel like her older sisters had. She then moved on to a position with Western Tool. It was during this time that she met her future husband, Wayne Cook. Their romance started at the Tromar Ballroom and they danced together through the decades of their married life.
Florence and Wayne were married October 13, 1951 in Omaha, Nebraska. After a short honeymoon to Lake of the Ozarks they returned to Bagley Iowa where Dr. Cook started his veterinarian practice and they began their family. Two sons (Bob & Dick) were born 10 ½ months apart and soon after that, the couple operated a restaurant in Bagley, in addition to the veterinarian practice. In 1957 the couple moved to Stuart and soon purchased the acreage they would live on the rest of their lives. Their third child, Joan, was born in 1959.
Through her child rearing years, Florence was a homemaker who was actively involved in her church, garden club, was a Cub Scout den leader, and developed her skills as an organic gardener. The passion to raise, process, and share healthy fruits and vegetables was an important part of her entire life. Apple harvest and pressing for juice was a joyful family occurrence many autumns.
In 1971 Florence started a 32-year career as an activities director at the Community Care Center in Stuart. Her energy and creativity brought much enjoyment to the lives of the residents and her passion for the elderly enabled her to build a large base of volunteers. She retired in 2003 at the age of 75 but continued volunteer efforts at the care center into her 90th year.
Throughout her adult life Florence enjoyed exercise, yoga, bike riding, caning and refinishing furniture, travel, and meeting new friends. Her most memorable travel was with a group of Iowans on an extended trip to the Soviet Union and China. She enjoyed her bike riding friends from Stuart and traveled with the group on RAGBRAI one year.
Florence was a lifelong Catholic and faithful and active member of All Saints Church in Stuart since her 1957 arrival, a member of Legion Auxiliary, Lions Club, the Sunshine Club, and remained an enthusiastic community volunteer throughout her life.
Florence was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Dr. Walter Wayne Cook, her parents, George and Mary Reis, her great-granddaughter, Yvaine Van Kooten and siblings, Herb, Mary Ann, Joe, Paul, Rita, Barbara, Grace, and John, several in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Left to celebrate her life are her children, son Robert Cook of Stuart, son Richard Cook and wife Lori of Stuart, daughter Joan Corbin and husband David, and daughter-in-law Carol Cook; her beloved grandchildren, Michael Cook of Stuart, Kayla Cook of Stuart, Allen Cook (Michelle Saffeels) of Stuart, Justin Cook (Gabriel) of Gallatin, Tennessee, Brandi Coil (Casey) of Stuart, Christopher Corbin (Kim) of Ames, Aaron Corbin (Gabrielle) of Pella, Nicholas Corbin (Rebekah) of Pella, Megan Van Kooten (Johnathon) of Ankeny, Angel Livingood (Jacob) of Ames, Hope Corbin-Butler (Tom) of Newton, Claire Corbin of Pella and Ella Corbin of Pella; great grandchildren, Kennedee Hewitt of Grimes, Austin Cook (Josie) of Dexter, Devon, Chelsey, Rylee, Abbigale and Siera Saffeels of Stuart, Lincoln Cook of Gallatin, Tennessee, Logan, Connor, Brielle and Declan Coil of Stuart, Juniper Corbin of Ames, Ava, Benjamin and Isabelle Corbin of Pella, Tristan Van Kooten of Johnston and Wayne Livingood of Ames; great, great grandchildren, Andrew Exman of Stuart and Jalaya and Maeleigh Cook of Dexter; siblings Charlotte Reis Latta (Russ) of Ames, Janet Reis Luchtel of Kansas City, sisters-in-law June Reis of Early, Mary Reis of Omaha Carol Reis of Kansas Coty. Brother in law Dewey Ludwig (Betty) of Sioux Rapids, and many nieces and nephews.