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October 15, 2013
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Donald Cooks

Donald Cooks passed away in his home on Oct. 7, 2013. He was 90.

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

Don was born in 1923 in Eau Claire, Wis., 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 Pittsburg, 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 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.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Opal; his four children, Michael Cooks, Vicki McKinnis, Luanne Clague, Jill Hill and nine grandchildren.


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The Union Updated Oct 15, 2013 04:57PM Published Oct 15, 2013 03:14PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.