Totsie Dean Grisham Cook entered into the presence of her Lord on Monday, May 18, 2015, at the age of 90. After a night and day of upper respiratory difficulties, she felt ill after dinner, suddenly became short of breath and suffered a fatal heart attack. After years of fighting diabetes and heart concerns, she longed to be with her husband of more than 71 years, who had passed away about nine months ago. Her longings were finally realized in that glad reunion!
Totsie Cook was born September 29, 1924, in Sparenberg, near Lamesa in Dawson County, Texas. She grew up south of Abilene in Shep, Taylor County, Texas, as the fifth of six children born to L. R. “Lige Rastus” and Nancy Elizabeth “Nannie” Grisham, who were watermelon and peanut farmers.
In Shep, she married William Burton Cook, her life-long sweetheart, on April 24, 1943 when he was still 19. He and Totsie celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary last year. They lived in the old Cook home place in Shep; they did not have a car, only a horse named Pedro.
After a little more than a year, Burton enlisted in the US Navy, leaving Shep in July 1944. He shipped out from San Diego for the Pacific on April 12, 1945, and Totsie lived in San Diego with him for a brief time before returning to Shep. After about a year, Burton had a 5-day furlough when he got to fly home to Fort Worth, hitchhiked to Abilene, then to Shep. He arrived there on a Saturday and left on Monday to get back to his ship. His first child, Burton, Jr., had been born on October 14, 1945, and this was the first time he was able to see his 6-months' old son.
After the war, the Cooks moved out west of Lubbock to the Morton, Texas, area, where Burton got a G.I. loan to buy a farm. However, when the first maize crop began to head out, he discovered that his hay fever was too severe to work the fields. So, the Cooks moved to White Settlement, Texas (Fort Worth) and he went to work at the aircraft plant that eventually became Lockheed Martin, where he worked as a tool maker/machinist. Burton's parents moved to the farm south of Morton and farmed it more than 40 years.
Burton and Totsie raised two sons and two daughters, the last son born in Weatherford, Texas, where they moved in the summer of 1955. Totsie started a home business in a small shop built next to their home called Cook’s Cottons where she sold all kinds of fabric and sewing supplies. She became well known in all of Parker County because of her good supply of beautiful fabrics and the sewing tips she gave to countless customers over the years. Her children learned to open closet doors cautiously because every available space in the house was stuffed with bolts of beautiful materials and one might fall down on you!
In 1984, Burton and Totsie moved to a home on Murl's Lake, near Weatherford Lake, where Totsie could fulfill her dream of “just walking out the back door to go fishing!” She was a great cook and always enjoyed hosting big family gatherings on holidays or reunion times. She gave up her Cook’s Cottons business when they moved to the lake, and at the end of that year, Burton retired after 32 years at Lockheed-Martin. He was honored with a Lifetime Service Award from North Side Baptist Church on May 1, 2005, where he served many years as a Deacon and Men's Bible Teacher. Totsie was a long-time children's Sunday School worker.
After both retired, they enjoyed several years of traveling in their truck and 5th wheel trailer with other couples, until their health began to decline. Finally, when neither was able to care for the other, in July 2007, they entered an assisted living center in Weatherford. Later, they moved to a full-time skilled nursing center, where Totsie continued to live after Burton passed away last year.
Totsie was preceded in death by her parents, L. R. and Nancy Grisham, all five of her siblings, including sisters Altha “Teetnie” Shedd and Maurine Brown, and brothers Joseph Franklin “Pete” Grisham, Doil Grisham, and Tolbert Grisham.
Immediate family surviving include two sons, Burton Cook, Jr. (Karen) and Benny Cook (Jennittie), all of Weatherford; two daughters, Sharon West of Burleson, and Gwen Hudson (Jake) of Las Vegas, Nevada. Nine grandchildren include, Juel Bragg, Kristi Tye (Tim), Lori Carman (Brian), Brad Cook (Karla), Jennifer Eaton (Caleb), Rodney West, Sharie Smart (Phil), Joel Hudson (Carissa), Audra Holm, She has sixteen great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson. Four sisters-in-law, Ila Mae Grisham of Abilene, Margaret Grisham of Blackwell, Billye Myrhl Grisham of Fort Worth, and Joy Baze of Phoenix, plus several nieces and nephews also survive Totsie.
We are each one so thankful to God for the years we knew Totsie and loved her, and for the life lessons she taught us that will continue to sustain and bless us for all the rest of our lives!
10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2015 at North Side Baptist Church
Visitation 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 29, 2015 at Galbreaith Pickard