Donald Thadeus Cook, 90, of Cedar Rapids, died peacefully Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. “It’s my turn.” There will be a private graveside service, with military honors, for family at the Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Don was born to Fred and Martha (Charipar) Cook on July 4, 1929, at St. Luke’s hospital in Cedar Rapids. Don was an accomplished speed skater. He attended Wilson High School where he played football. He enjoyed working as cowboy on Taggert’s Ranch in Wyoming. Don married Diane Elizabeth Sewell on September 9, 1950 in Iowa City. Don and Diane were blessed with two children and they were married for 62 years. He joined the Air Force, working on radios, and proudly served his country for 4 years in Washington State, Tennessee, and Japan during the Korean War. He began working as a Millwright at Quaker Oats in January of 1958 and retired after 33 years of service in 1991. While at Quaker Oats he served a Union Steward and President of Local 1039, negotiating many contracts during his tenure. Don was a member of VFW Post 788 in Cedar Rapids, American Legion Post 298 in Marion, and the Eagles Club 2272 in Cedar Rapids.
Don enjoyed the outdoors and created many memories with his family camping, hunting and fishing. He spent many days duck hunting with his son. And it wasn’t always about the duck hunt - it was about the time they spent together. Don spent countless weekends camping in various campgrounds around Iowa before settling into Camelot Campground as a permanent camping spot. Don enjoyed cooling off in the pool with his grandkids, taking the boat out on the river and fishing, playing cards on rainy days, and making a short entry in his journal to remember key events from the day. Every evening ended with a campfire and Don hooting at the owls. Don and Diane spent 13 winters in Florida, where they enjoyed spending time together escaping the cold Iowa winters. They enjoyed quite the social life and made great friends during their stays. The family made many memorable trips to Florida together over the years and this was definitely their home away from home. Don was a family man and enjoyed family gatherings for holidays and birthdays. He was known to throw a great 4th of July/birthday party every year. Don’s good friend and long-time neighbor, Al, always joined the party and many times grilled the main dish for all to enjoy. And it wasn’t a successful event unless friends and family sang Happy Birthday to Don with his favorite pineapple upside down cake in front of him.
Don had a very strong faith and when diagnosed with cancer in his early forties he prayed that he would take care of Diane for the rest of their lives if he was allowed to survive the cancer. Don beat cancer and as promised, he loved and cared for Diane unconditionally until the day she succumbed to cancer in 2013.
Survivors include his daughter, Dawn (Dick) Lorenzen of Cedar Rapids and his son, Douglas (Cheryl) Cook of Vinton; one brother, David (MaryLou) of Cedar Rapids; his seven granddaughters, Amie Haumesser, Jill Lorenzen, Heidi Hauptly, Holly Groom, Tracy Ehlert, Denise Zimmer, and Heather Mangold; and his 14 great- grandchildren, Ashlee, Samantha and Tyler Haumesser, Ayla and Skye Secor, Malachi and Abby Hauptly, Jerry and Arthur Groom, Bryce Williams, Daythan Ehlert, Stella and Juniper Zimmer, and Brant Mangold.
He was proceeded in death by his parents; and Diane, his wife of 62 years.
Don will be remembered as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle and will be greatly missed. Good bye for now to our very own Yankee Doodle Dandy.
In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha. A special thank you to Chari and Chaplin Joe for your support during this difficult time.