Priscilla Cook

Monday, August 27, 2012

Priscilla Lewis Cook, 88, of Prairie, Idaho, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 at her daughter's home in Coeur D'Alene.

A graveside service was held at the Prairie Cemetery in Prairie, on Sunday, Aug. 19, with Pastor Joseph Thompson presiding. Four grandsons, Matthew, Jared, and Travis Cook, and Clyde Mooney served as pallbearers and Harry Black as honorary pallbearer. There was a gathering afterwards at the home of Travis Cook. Arrangements were under the direction of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel.

Priscilla Virginia Lewis Cook was born on Jan. 26, 1924, in Edmonds, Wash., fourth child of William Olanie and Henrietta Bucklin Lewis. Priscilla was raised near Crosby, Wash., with three brothers and two sisters.

After graduating from Central Kitsap High in 1941, she attended Washington State University and the University of Washington, graduating from Utah State University in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in botany.

She worked building B-17s at Boeing during the war.

While at Utah State, she met Clyde John Cook of Clayton, N.M. They were married in June 1947.

His work with Bureau of Indian Affairs took them to reservations in Nevada and Arizona, during which time two sons and one daughter were born. Another son was born in June, 1954, after their move, in April, to a cattle ranch at Prairie.

Priscilla accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior in 1951 at the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, and spent the rest of her life sharing the gospel with everyone whom she met. She delighted in helping start the Prairie Bible Fellowship Church in 2006.

Priscilla juggled demands of ranch and house work with much community involvement. For 33 years, she taught weekly Sunday school at Prairie through the American Sunday School Union. For 50 years, she provided music instruction at Prairie Elementary School. She served on local election boards and provided leadership for 4-H members in forestry and outdoor foods projects.

At 50, she listed backpacking, bee-keeping and the Bible as her passions.

She gave music lessons to any interested child.

In the 1980s, she helped the community set up a library building and volunteered many hours there. An avid reader herself, she loved finding the right book for each reader.

She interviewed older Prairie residents and wrote up their histories.

Priscilla shared an avid interest in backpacking and camping with friends and family. At 81, she took a 12-year-old grandchild on his first backpack. She hiked the Seven Devils Mountains near Riggins, the Sawtooths and Copper Basin. At age 70, she canoed 30 miles of the St. Joe River.

With nature her favorite venue, she loved identifying native plants and birds. No summer was complete without backpack trips or a retreat at her sister's cabin at Hood's Canal in Washington.

Her active involvement in life continued on after Clyde's death in 1997, sharing her home and her interests with so many people. Her gazebo was the setting for many summer tea parties with visiting children. Rarely could anyone beat her at the game of Scrabble. She said recently, "I love words!"

All of the family picnics were highlighted with Priscilla's accordion music. She played piano for Sunday school, church, cakewalks and even Grange square dances.

Priscilla is survived by one sister, one brother, three sons, Nathan (Mary) and Luther (Janice) Cook of Prairie, Neilus Cook of New Meadows, and one daughter, Martha Cook (Oscar Mooney) of Coeur d'Alene, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Prairie Bible Fellowship Church, Smith Prairie Historical Society, Prairie QRU, or Hospice of North Idaho.

The family of Priscilla thanks her friends and neighbors for their love and support.