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WILLIAMSTON -- Mrs. Iris Nelson Cooke, 95, of Williamston, died June 23, 2007, at the Golden Living Center in Greenville. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, Williamston, and will be conducted by the Rev. James R. Horton, Rector. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Williamston.

Mrs. Cooke was born in Hugo, Lenior County, N.C., to the late Richard Ernest Nelson and Blanche McLawhorn Nelson and grew up in Grifton, graduating from Grifton High School. She was a graduate of the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, with a degree in Library Science. She taught at Stokes Elementary School in Pitt County, Wylie Elementary School in Winston-Salem and Williamston High School before retiring in 1977.

Always active in the Church of the Advent in Williamston, Mrs. Cooke served as a Sunday school teacher, Junior Choir leader and 50 years as a member of the Altar Guild. Her community service included Cub Scout den mother, membership in the Williamston Woman's Club, Reviewer's Book Club and as a founding member, volunteer librarian and board member of Martin Memorial Library in Willliamston. She was well-known for playing ragtime and jazz piano for many community events through the years and played for silent movies in her hometown of Grifton.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Cooke was preceded in death by her two brothers, Richard A. Nelson and Sam E. Nelson; one sister, Bet Nelson Overton; and by her husband, James C. Cooke Sr. of Williamston.

She is survived by two sons, the Rev. James C. Cooke Jr., and wife, Bonnie, of Greenville and Dr. Richard T. Cooke and wife, Kay, of Goldsboro; granddaughters, S. Katherine Cooke and husband, Michael E. Lowenstern, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Anna P. Cooke and husband, Brett V. Heine of Las Vegas, Nev.; grandsons, Charles R. Cooke and Jeffrey H. Cooke of Raleigh; great-granddaughter, Ariel C. Lowenstern of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Cooke delighted in the presence of family and friends and was usually the life of the party. She possessed a quick wit and an abiding concern for others. The promotion and development of the Martin Memorial Library in Williamston was her major community undertaking, and she was always grateful for the support and participation of local civic leaders and volunteers.

The Cooke family expresses their appreciation to the Golden Living Center staff for their compassion and care. The family will visit with friends from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007, at the Church of the Advent Parish Hall in Williamston.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Church of the Advent, P.O. Box 463, Williamston, N.C. 27892 or to Martin Memorial Library, 200 N. Smithwick St., Williamston, N.C. 27892.

Funeral arrangements are by Biggs Funeral Home of Williamston.


Published in Obituaries on June 26, 2007 1:46 PM