Former Gun Lake woman Lorraine Cooke-Hill dies

Former Gun Lake woman and Hastings Banner reporter Lorraine Hill-Cooke died Friday Feb. 24, in Merkel, Texas. She celebrated her 100th birthday just three weeks before her death.

Lorraine was born to Jacob Edward Schaedler and Clare Bourke Schaedler in Royalton, Minn. and attended schools in Royalton, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., graduating from Tucson High School in 1940.

She married Captain John K. Hill at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in 1941 and together they had six children. Captain Hill was killed on Feb. 23, 1958. On April 4, 1959, Lorraine was married to Jimmie Cooke, in Tucson, and there were four more children added to this union.

Lorraine was never idle and past activities included St. Michael’s and All Angels Migrant Ministries in Tucson, United States Divorce Reform, Inc., Girl Scout Leader, Hospitality House Youth activities, voted Arizona State Peace Worker of the Year, and when National Security information came to her attention, she became associated with the FBI  as a contact person. Lorraine enrolled in a journalism class and began writing as a free-lance reporter. Despite these activities, the family was always involved in camping and fishing at various state and national campgrounds.

She and her family moved to Gun Lake in 1970 and Lorraine worked as a reporter for Hastings Banner, then became a candidate for township clerk. Because there was a need for volunteers to assist in the local ambulance service, Lorraine took a Red Cross Advanced First Aid Class and later completed Grand State College classes in Emergency Medical Technician Specialist to volunteer her services for the Township Ambulance Service and served 15 years.

She became Michigan Democratic Delegate to State Convention, was organist St. Francis Episcopal Church and a Sunday School teacher. When Lorraine and Jimmie retired in 1992 to their small Noodle ranch, she volunteered to become pianist at the Noodle Baptist Church.

Lorraine served as Republican Chair of Jones County for 15 years and was awarded Republican Party Volunteer of the year 2004 for District 28 by Victor Carrillo at the state convention. Until June 2006, she was employed as staff case manager with offices at the Work Force Center in Abilene. Another opportunity was afforded for continued service when she became the secretary/treasurer of the First United Methodist Church in Merkel for three years.

She enjoyed the rest of her life spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Surviving children include sons, Charles Michael Hill and Barbara of Nanaimo, British Columbia; James Dee Hill and Debra, Mt. Pleasant; Thomas Gary Cooke and Donna, Merke. Daughters include Dana Gayle Behymer, Galesburg, Ill.,  Loucinda Joy Sage, Kalamazoo; Evelyn Lorraine Morse and Charles,  Merkel, as well as daughter-in-laws Christi Hill, Mountain Home, Ark., and Sherry Cooke, Delton, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Lorraine was preceded in death by her husband, Jimmie, on June 28, 1999, infant daughter, Barbara Rose Hill and sons, Jimmie Jay Cooke, Sammy Daniel Cooke and John Kenneth Hill.

Visitation will be held at Starbuck Funeral Home Chapel Friday, March 3. Services will be at the First United Methodist Church in Merkel Saturday, March 4.  Burial will follow at the Cooke family plot in the Brushy Cemetery, Haskell County, Texas.

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