08/30/1953 - 03/09/2015.
Judy passed away early in the morning Monday March 9, 2015, after living for two years with brain cancer. Judy spent Sunday with all three of her children by her bedside. They were able to comfort her in her last hours and say their goodbyes. Judy died in her sleep with her eldest daughter Penny sleeping beside her. Judy is survived by her three children and two grandchildren, siblings, and numerous cousins. She is preceded in death by her mother, Anne Johnston Cook, father, Robert Clyde Cook, and sister, Wendy Cook.
Judy Anne Cook was born in 1953 in Seattle, Washington to the late Anne Johnston Cook and the late Robert Clyde Cook. She was the second of two children. She was very close to her sister, the late Wendy Cook, who was "the good one." Judy was known to friends and family as "the mischievous one." She grew up in Seattle and attended Roosevelt High School.
Robert Cook and Anne Cook separated when Judy and Wendy were children, and Robert Cook married the late Jane Cook. Judy and Wendy shared time between families in Seattle and Sacramento, California. Judy gained two step-brothers, Mark and Peter Chrisler, and half-siblings Kristen and Bobby Cook, all of whom reside in California.
In the mid-seventies, after school, Judy joined the Love Israel Family and moved into "The Big House" on Queen Anne Hill, where she lived with nearly 300 other members of the Love Family. She was known at that time as Constance Israel. It was during this period that she met Richness Israel, aka Daniel Gruener. Together, they had two children. Penny was born (in a green tent on a ranch) in Arlington in 1978, and Posey was born (in a house on Queen Anne) in 1980.
In the early eighties, Judy separated from Daniel and left the Love Family. She married Steven Lee Cook in 1984, and moved to Florida. There she had a son, Kyle Cook. He was born (in a hospital) in 1986. She devoted her energies to all of her children. She sewed Halloween costumes, cut their hair herself (including her patented "tape across the bangs" method), and made sure they got into the best possible schools. Even as pre-schoolers. She was fierce in her love for them, and also in her insistence that they be kind to each other.
In 1990, when the children were 11, 9, and 4, Steven Cook came home from work to find that the car, his wife, and the children were missing. He came to find out that Judy had secretly returned to Seattle, with all three children. That was the beginning of a realization - for all who loved Judy - that she had developed a mental illness. Steven came to Seattle to gain custody of Kyle, and Daniel came to Seattle to gain custody of Penny and Posey. A social worker said at the time that she "had never seen anyone fight so hard to be able to be present for her children." After her children went to live with their fathers, Judy lived in Seattle with her mother, Anne Cook, and her grandmother Helen Johnston.
Judy's diagnosis came a few years later. She had Schizophrenia. Despite efforts to help by many who loved her, the illness went untreated for many years, and it eventually cost Judy not only her children but also her home. Like many mentally ill people, Judy ended up, for very brief stints, in hospitals and in jail. She spent a very long time living at Hammond House, an emergency shelter near Pike Place market in downtown Seattle run by Compass Housing Alliance. Though many tried to help Judy get medication and find housing, she never quite got the help she needed.
Still, starting in 2002, when her daughters graduated from college and moved back to Seattle, Judy began to form a new kind of relationship with loved ones. Though they tried and failed to help her recover from her illness and find housing, Penny and Posey would visit with her nearly every week, going out to lunch and tentatively re-forming the bonds that had been broken. Even after Posey moved to Brooklyn, Penny continued to meet weekly, and they had lunch every Monday for many years. Judy had the pleasure of holding her two grandchildren and watching them grow. Starting in 2010 or so, Judy began spending Mondays at Penny's house, where she would do the dishes, take baths, do laundry, read quietly, and play with the kids. Her ritual would always begin with drinking tea with her feet up and ankles crossed. Posey and Kyle would call and Skype often on these Mondays. They even remotely carved Halloween pumpkins together.
In 2013, Judy was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. For the first time in 18 years Judy found a place to rest and come alive at the Columbia Lutheran Home nursing facility in North Seattle, who graciously offered her a home when no one else would. She was given a home, and medication for schizophrenia, two things which had been so essential, and so hard for her to get. Though she had been given a prognosis of just four months to live, through chemotherapy and radiation and the incredible force of her will Judy spent two years living with cancer and reconnecting with her children and grandchildren. Posey moved back from Brooklyn and her son Kyle often came to visit from Florida. They spent countless hours taking walks, eating together, watching children play and just enjoying each others' smiles and laughter. During this time some of the most cherished parts of Judy came back, an all of Judy's children were able to experience the calmer, mischievous, and joyful Judy others had known in her youth. In a way, cancer gave Judy and her children the life together they had always longed for.
A memorial for Judy will be held at the Woodland Park Rose Garden on Sunday March 22nd at one o'clock in the afternoon. A reception will follow at 2pm at the home of Penny and Dave Carothers. The family requests that any donations made in memory of Judy benefit the caring institutions and people who supported her during the most challenging part of her life. These institutions include Compass Housing Alliance, DESC, The Mental Health Chaplaincy and Columbia Lutheran Home.
please know that my thoughts and love are with you today and I will be praying for you ♥ --debbie