Donald Cooks passed away in his home on October 7, 2013. He was 90 years old. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Opal Cooks, and his four children – Michael Cooks, Vicki Mckinnis, Luanne Clague and Jill Hill – and nine grandchildren.
Don was born in 1923 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and grew up during the Great Depression. His father, Victor Cooks, was a labor organizer and worked towards establishing progressive measures for the poor and the middle class. Both his father and the historical context of his childhood had a profound influence on Don’s life. In 1958, Don moved to California to begin his teaching career. He worked directly with the poor living in the projects in Pittsburgh, and later went into upper-level administration for the final years of his career. Upon retirement in 1978 he moved to Nevada City.
During his retirement years he volunteered for the Senior Citizen Center transporting kidney dialysis patients to Sacramento, delivering meals on wheels, establishing the free income tax service for the senior citizens, and volunteering for Hospice by visiting nursing home patients with his therapy dog, Molly.
He was an iconoclastic writer and contributed regularly to the editorial section of the Nevada Union newspaper. Don also started a personal blog covering topics such as politics, history, inequality, and war. His writing-style was a mix of truth and satire. Don’s goal was to provoke thought and give a voice to the destitute and oppressed.
Don’s other hobbies included golf – a pastime he and Opal shared, camping, and traveling. He participated in agility and obedience training with his dog, Molly, and had her perform several times at the county fair as well as in nursing homes and schools. He was a dedicated husband and father.
A family memorial is planned for the spring. He was aided by Hospice in his final months, and they were a great help to his family.