Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kit Cook

The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet echoes on in sweet, soulful refrains.
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.
Author: Unknown
Katherine Hovgaard Cook of Manchester
March 2, 1943 to Feb. 28, 2012

Our beloved Kitty peacefully passed away in her home on February 28 in Manchester after a 7-year-long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Born Katherine Ellen Ballard to Fred and Merab Ballard. Known as Kitty or Kit, she spent her entire life in Manchester. She loved life, her family, and had countless friends.

She was an active member of the Children's Hospital Guild, devoted years to the Board of Directors of Helpline, and was past president of the Commodears of the Port Orchard Yacht Club. She and her husband Dick hosted the Manchester Sailing Regatta for over ten years. Kitty served as Manchester's much loved postmaster for 16 years. She had a smile and kind word for each and every one of her customers.

She is survived by husband Richard; sons Eric (Tracy) and Mark; grandchildren Janelle, Max and Jonah; stepdaughters Jennifer and Barbara; stepsons Jason and Roy; and brother Robert. Her parents preceded her in death as did her brother Bill, sister Mary Galpin, niece Kitty Sue York, and first husband Ellery.

My cousin Kit and her family are often entwined in my childhood memories. My first sleepover, cut short because of a "sunburn"(in Washington??) and Kit carrying be home late into the evening. My first movie, Tammy and the Bachelor with Kit and Mom, very grown up. ( I don't know why but the theme song still brings a tear to my eye.) We spent birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with Kit and her family. The photo of Kit, her dad "Uncle Foddie" (my early attempt at Father, which I had heard often from the four older cousins) Mary, Steve, and others was the last Thanksgiving we all spent together. The next week we moved to Montana on what was intended to be a two year stint for my dad but turned into a life long move.

Mom and a soft spot for Kit. Kit was always "the go to" role model my mom placed before me. Smart, pretty, sensible, happy, always looking on the bright side of things even when things got tough and she did have bumps along the way. When Kit's first marriage ended, she'd call Mom and they'd have nice visits. She'd told Mom she wanted to find a guy like her Uncle Jerry, my dad. Dad was a kind, caring, and a down to earth kind of guy.  He loved my mom and family, and they always came first. What was important to us, was important to him. Kit eventually met and married her husband Dick. They were married in Hawaii and I could see the happiness on her face in the photos she sent to Mom.  

Years passed. Mom had a rough time the last few years of her life but Dad was always there for her. It still makes my heart swell when I think of how he took care of her and did it with such love Dick was there for Kit too. She indeed got her wish for a guy like Dad when she married Dick.

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