In Memory

Kenda Cook

Kenda Cook lost her battle with cancer, December 10, 2009, in Pullyup, Washington.  She is survived by her three children:

Tonita Siobhan Cook age 17
Curtis Robert-Lawrence Cook age 15
Kerry Mitchell Cook age 12


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02/25/10 08:06 AM #1    

Janiece Staton

Many, many thanks to the children of Kenda, for notifying us of her death and for posting the BEAUTIFUL pictures of her and her family, from 2008.

Kenda and I were pretty good friends, during the last two years of high school. She and I were both in choir (she was a second alto and I was a first) and we were both in French class, with Mrs. Bebee (and her orchards of apples, on which we snacked, during MOST class periods).

I just discovered this class reunion site, a couple of days ago. Great was my disappointment at learning that Kenda did NOT become a translator for the United Nations, as she had STRONGLY planned to do, during high school. She was SO CERTAIN about that career path, I never had an OUNCE of doubt, but that she would achieve it.

She, Daryl (I can't remember his last name, however, he was in the class behind ours and the only black student in the entire school), and I, were all together in French Class AND choir. Thus, during the Outdoor Concert the choir put on, during our Senior Year, the three of us wandered around the crowds singing a trio of "Dominique", in both English and French. Daryl played the guitar, to accompany us. I REALLY struggled with the French and sang the melody soprano part (Kenda's coaching, in French, was ALL that got me through it), while Kenda sang the alto, and Daryl sang tenor. We were GREAT, even if I DO say so, myself! LOL

When I first discovered this site, I was eager to read about her life. While I was disappointed that she never made it to the United Nations, I was SOOOOO PROUD of her, for having the courage to adopt and raise three children, and from a race different from hers, no less! She and I had the fact that neither of us found "Mr. Right", in common. I, however, NEVER would have had the courage to adopt ONE child, on my own, let ALONE THREE!

Bless her for having such a BIG heart and loving me, despite my religious judgmentalism (in high school), and loving those children. It tells you a lot about her. Since I've never attended any of our class reunions before (my life's been just a BIT on the hectic side, over the years), I wondered WHY her photos showed such a DRAMATIC weight loss (the RN in me, is ALWAYS aware of things like that, when I see people). Now, I know WHY.

How tragic that she died soooo young and with her children still not fully grown. I had sooooo hoped to reconnect with her again and now I'll never have the chance. Hopefully, one of her warm-hearted friends and/or family members, will step in and mentor those children into adulthood. As we ALL remember, adolescence is a difficult ENOUGH time, in life, without losing one's ONLY PARENT, in the midst of it all.

Wherever you are, Kenda, thanks so VERY MUCH, for being such a generous and kind-hearted role model, for the world. I'm soooo glad, you chose me to be a friend, all those years ago. :)

08/04/10 02:18 PM #2    

Glenda Smith (Dixon)


The gentleman you cannot remember but his first name is Derryl Willis. He is on facebook along with his sister Shenitta Willis. I vaguely remember Kenda but do believe I remember you.

Kenda must of had the kindest of all hearts. I know what it is like to adopt and basically start the babyhood all over again.

Bless Kenda and may she RIP.


12/12/10 12:50 AM #3    

Janiece Staton


Thank you for supplying me with Derryl's last name.  Since I am on Facebook, I will look him up.  I wonder if he is aware of Kenda's death.  I attended so many different high schools, colleges, and universities, that (along with the fact that I am now struggling with multiple, severe, disabling conditions), tends to scramble the memories I have of who I knew, where, and when.

Thus, I am not certain whether I accurately remember you, or not.  The memorable things about me, during my 3 years in Medford, were that I had hip-length, brown, wavy hair, wore glasses, participated very actively in choir, as well as several drama events, and was consistently on the high honor roll (I forget what that group of students was called, but we all graduated with GPAs of 3.85 or above - thus most of us took College Prep and/or Advanced Placement courses - which were GROSSLY underfunded and inadequate to meet the needs of the number of students capable of doing work at that level, IMHO!).

Unfortunately, PE and athletics were two areas I was not the least bit successful in, though I didn't understand why, at the time.  I'm NOW aware that I have a genetic collagen/connective tissue disorder, that prevents my joints from working appropriately - thus I am at very high risk for injuries, when involved in athletic events, as well as being unable to effectively control the range of movement of my joints (a condition known as overlaxity of the joints).  Thus, some people remember me as the person consistently chosen LAST for any type of sporting event/PE activity!  It was an ongoing source of intense frustration, that no matter HOW HARD I TRIED, I was rare ever even vaguely successful at any type of athletics.  Sadly, I ended up learning to despise them all, except for swimming and bicycling, which happen to be gentlest on my joints.

07/07/11 12:45 AM #4    

Coy Bier

Kenda was a wonderful friend to me in high school. I first met Kenda at Medford Mid High in Math class on the first day of 9th grade. She so easily made you feel at ease to take her in your confidence. She was the one to encourage me to ask my counselor if I could skip the 10th grade so I could graduate in my natural year(I was held back in 1st grade and wanted to make up for it). I told her things I wouldn't dare tell anyone else. I knew she wouldn't tell anyone what I told her.

I have such excellent memories of cruising the strip on Friday and Saturday nights with her in her car. On graduation night she took my brothers off my hands so I could be with my boyfriend, how many people do that? Kenda also saved me from Mr. Gang's Spanish class. Thank goodness she sat next to me. I think she knew I would never get through his class unless she was there to help me. I remember mentioning that to her one day near the end of the semester and she just smiled at me and said, "Isn't that what friends are for?" I just hugged her and said, "Thank you." What else could I say.

When Kenda went off to college I expected to hear about her adventures around the world as a translator. That's all I heard her talk about for 3 years of high school.

She encouraged me to try out of choir because I could sing in harmony with her when the songs played on the radio while we were cruising. (I did try out, by the choir director didn't agree with her, he didn't select me).

Last year I tried to contact Kenda through Classmates and I was wondering my she didn't respond by now I know why. I have to tell her children that your mother was a wonderful person, I'm sure you know that but I want you to know that from someone who knew her many years before you did, she was the best friend I ever had in high school. She will always be with me and I do desperately wish I could have known her after school. Your friend always Kenda, Coy Lynn

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