How do you tell the story of a man who was so many things to so many people? James Kimble Cooke left this earth on February 27, 2020. He was 87. He took his last breath in a room filled so full with his loving family that there was standing room only. Through tears and even laughter, we said our final goodbyes to this great man.
James, known mostly as Kim to family and Jim to friends, led a life filled with limitless love. He had a fierce devotion to family. He was the essence of kindness. He had an unrivaled sense of humor. He was a friend to all.
He was born, feet first, in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 19, 1932 to Sarah Pearl and David James Cooke. He was raised, along with his 3 sisters Lonnie Rae Smithson, Jean Mullins and Merle Van Weerd. One of his first homes was a tiny 9x13 cabin just outside Zion National Park where his father worked with the Civilian Conservation Corp because jobs were scarce. He was known to his parents as “our little depression baby.” This started his family’s love for Zion.
He spent most of his years growing up in Salt Lake City. He graduated from West High School on June 2,1949; two weeks shy of his 17th birthday. His military service began in 1953. While he was stationed at Fort Mason in Orleans, France he met Patricia Irene Daniel. He knew she would one day be his wife, but also felt a desire to serve an LDS mission. He received an honorable discharge from the military and served in the Great Lakes Mission in 1956. He returned and was sealed Pat in 1958 in the Salt Lake temple. Jim was recalled into the military during the Berlin crisis.
In 1960 he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Utah in History and Philosophy. He continued his education during his military career and received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University in 1973. He liked to brag that he was a Cougar and a Ute since he got a degree from both Universities.
He and Pat had 7 daughters; Karmelle, Teresa, Kathy, Suzanne, Valerie, Kirsten, and Sherod. During this time Jim’s military career took him and his family around the world. They were stationed in Germany (twice), Oahu, San Francisco, Seattle, among other places. Travelling with his family was one of his greatest pleasures. In 1986 Jim’s wife Pat died from cancer. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1980. After retiring from the army, he started his second career with Deseret Mutual Benefit Association. He retired after 10 years.
Jim met and Married Karen Nina Richards in 1988 and married her in the Manti Temple. He became a second father to her children.They later moved to Orem and he loved his home, his dogs and his view of the mountains. He and Nina enjoyed travelling together with many happy moments spent in their RV.
Jim is survived by his wife Nina Cooke and his seven daughters Karmelle (Ron) Willmore, Teresa Faires, Kathy (John) Goodwin, Suzanne (Charley) Baldridge, Valerie (Joel) Kempner, Kirsten (Mitchel) Davis and Sherod
(Randy) Mitchell, 26 grandchildren, and 24 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his 5 step children, Julie (Vally) Mulford, Rhonda Platten, Jeanette (Mike) Parker, Randall (Nicki) Richards and Melissa (Scott) Blackburn, 14 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, all of whom he loved so very much.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the Orem Sixth Ward Chapel, 365 South 900 East, Orem, Utah. Family and friends may attend a viewing from 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. prior to the services. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.
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