In Memoriam

Pat Young
Pat Young-Cooke
Class of 1957


Pat Young Cooke

Cradock High School 1957           

Patricia Young Cooke, age 66, of Richmond, died Thursday, April 21, 2005.  

Her husband, Rev. James R. Cooke Sr.; her son, James R. Cooke Jr. and his wife, Angeline; her daughter, Sarah S. Cooke; two grandchildren, Spencer and Patrick; one brother, Dr. Reuben B. Young and his wife, Mable, survived her.  

Woody Funeral Home, Richmond, supervised services. River Road United Methodist Church was the site of the services. Interment was in Hollywood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Piedmont CASA, Inc., P.O. Box 603, Charlottesville, Va. 22902. 


For the friends of Pat Young

During the month or so that I knew of Pat Young’s eminent demise she was in my thoughts everyday. I was angry that the sweet girl that I hardly knew from fifty years ago was dying of bronchial alveolar carcinoma, lung cancer, after a healthy lifetime free of smoking. I did not want to accept the harsh truth that one who I remembered as so vital and energetic and pretty and smart was tapped to die now and not get old. 

Often in this past month, I went to my 1957 Cradock Yearbook and thumbed through the worn pages finding Pat everywhere. She was a star, a scholar, a student government leader, a social club leader, and cheerleader, when those things were so important.  What a great gal...but that was fifty years ago and I had barely kept up with Pat except to hear that she had married Jimmy Cooke, a Norfolk boy who became a Methodist minister, and was living somewhere in Virginia and teaching school, and having babies and raising a family and disappearing into a lifetime as a preacher’s wife. 

When I heard the news of her death, like everyone who knew her, I was saddened, and I wanted to do something about the sadness, my own and others, because I know that those of you who receive this mail will also be upset at the news and at sixes and sevens about how to respond to the pain. The dull pain, the awareness of Pat’s death feels like it will not go away, even though I know it will. 

What will be left for all of us will be our memories of Pat.  Each of us has different memories and they will be there to comfort us. She will be remembered for the wonder and delight she brought to her family and friends, for her energy and great ability to organize, her wit and good humor, insight and empathy.  She will be missed by many. 

Today I drove to Richmond to be with her family to celebrate Pat’s life with her family and friends at River Road United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School. I went because I was sure that some of the lifetime stories of Pat would be revealed and surely they were, in Eulogies delivered by her daughter, Sarah and her son, Jimmy.  The services were conducted by Rev. Kirk Nave, but the heart of the services was in the remarks of the loving children that Pat has left behind. 

Daughter Sarah began by characterizing Pat as being like “The Energizer Bunny”. She just kept going and going and never running out of energy. She suggested that if Pat were here she would be surprised at how this “pneumonia thing” had played out and ended up here in the church. 

 “Not one of us was prepared to lose you”, Sarah said. You have made a good wife to papa…you made a wonderful team…you completed one another”.

“You were a good sister as well as a loyal friend to your loving brother. You were a devoted aunt; you were an energetic and much loved grandmother; you were a wonderful friend to so many people in your life. That was obvious from the number of cards and letters that you received in the hospital, but it was obvious to us who lived with you because we always knew it.” 

“What is there that can’t be said that was not good about you…loyal, quick witted, and oh so funny. You could make me laugh harder than anyone I knew. You taught Jimmy and me so many of life’s valuable lessons. You gave selflessly to us at every opportunity. When you died I lost the best friend I ever had. I am so glad you lived long enough to see me making good grades in school and to be proud of me for that.” 

“Yesterday I found Bessie Stanley’s prize winning hundred word essay (I always thought it was Emerson’s) and read it again and it reminded me of you again as it always has.”

"What Constitutes Success."  

"She has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled her niche and accomplished her task; who has left the world better than she found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best she had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction."  

Sarah closed with; “God Bless you Mom, we will always love you, rest in peace. 

Son Jimmy followed with eloquent remarks. “She was the rock of our family…always available and dedicated to her children…Cub Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher…constantly enthusiastic…a prolific storyteller…and you never failed to embarrass me because the stories you told were about your wonderful children. Her stories were an expression of what she loved about life. 

I am so glad that you got to love and be loved by your grandsons, Spencer and Patrick.  

And, it goes without saying how proud we were of your career as an elementary school teacher and your late in life scholastic accomplishment as a Court appointed children’s advocate in Charlottesville. 

Jimmy closed with a reading from Proverbs: 

Proverbs 31: 10-31 

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 

The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 

She seeks wool, and flax and works willingly with her hands. 

She is like the merchants ships; she brings her food from afar. 

She rises up also while it is yet night, and gives meals to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 

She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 

She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. 

She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night. 

She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 

She stretches out her hand to the poor; yes, she reaches her hands to the needy. 

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with the best. 

She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 

She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant. 

Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 

She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 

She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. 

Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. 

Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all. 

Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that fears The LORD,she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."  

All that you did you did well and when you spoke your words were full of kindness. We honor your memory and revere your life.


So now for all of you who had not been close to Pat Young Cooke for all of the long years since we were classmates at Cradock, you know something of what she became after she left us. 

“Patricia” the name is given to one who is born well. It is derived from the Roman Patrician class, the rulers. Pat certainly lived up to her name 

It makes me proud that she was my friend. 

With Love
Bernie Kirsch