Donald Kercheville Cook

Donald Kercheville Cook (Dad, Grampa, Cap’n Cook, Uncle), 91, died peacefully and comfortably at the home of his daughter, Renee (Renny) Cook, in Shirley Massachusetts on July 19, 2018. Born in Tacoma of David B. Cook and Betty (Kercheville) Cook he leaves his wife Carol (Gendreau) Cook of Tacoma, his aforementioned daughter Renny, his son Ken Cook of Hoodsport, and the dear friend he called his “second son”, John Spring of Vashon Island. He will be missed by his four grandchildren, Frank and Ken Gerweck of Massachusetts and Ken and Don Cook of Eatonville, and 8 great grandchildren. Predeceased by his brother, Ken Cook of Tacoma, he also leaves his niece Cindy Cook-Boettner of Toledo WA.

     Don loved and lived this quote: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used-up, totally worn-out, and loudly proclaiming - “WOW - - What a Ride!!” (anonymous)

     To say Don lived a life of adventure is putting it mildly; he lived many lifetimes of extraordinary adventures which he detailed on his web-page ( From even before age 11 when he and his younger brother Ken ran a self-devised business rowing latecomers to the ferry from Tahlequah across the sound to Tacoma, to his last years in his late 80s traveling back and forth to the Philippines to be with dear friends, he lived every moment. During high school summer vacations he served aboard the steam schooner Daisy Grey hauling lumber down the coast.  Upon graduating from Vashon High School in 1945 he shipped out as an “able bodied seaman” with the Army Transport Service on a Liberty Ship and found himself in Okinawa on VJ day. After another Liberty Ship voyage he took time off to marry his highschool sweetheart, Rhea (Blake) of Vashon and become the father of two children. He then served his stint in the army as a dental assistant - again on a boat, the hospital ship Comfort. While attending college at UC Berkeley he owned and operated a number of small restaurants with friends and family and ultimately owned and managed his own restaurant, the Chat & Chew, in Crockett CA from 1951 to 1960. For his next “career” Don joined the sales force of John Sexton & Co, a job that took him and his family to Spokane, Denver, then Honolulu. Finally transferred home to the Northwest in 1970, he chose to return to Tacoma.  To avoid yet another transfer - this time to the midwest - he left Sexton in 1972 to work a number of odd jobs including selling wigs, Electrolux vacuum cleaners, real estate in New Mexico, and eventually managing the newly established Northwest Trek in Eatonville. He met and married Carol and settled down to sell real estate in Pierce County with the opening of Eatonville Realty. Living on “the point” of Lake Ohop for 33 years, he and Carol were active participants in the community including the Lions Club, garden club and other town organizations. He “retired” from active real estate sales in 1998 and 10 years later they moved back to Tacoma where he could moor his beloved boat, the 1962 Fairliner “Water High” as well as create and open the licensed Adult Family Care home where Carol resides today. A running theme in his life was to be on or near boats and water. The Water High was the last of many loves that included an old fishing trawler turned cabin cruiser and an ancient harbor patrol boat.

     Though in his last years he had to give up the Water High,  he continued to enjoy life aboard ship volunteering on the historic sea going tug Commanche 202 as well as exploring the Strait of Juan de Fuca (and beyond) with his son, Ken. On Sunday nights, when in town, he could be found at the Spar in Tacoma enjoying the blues and brews among friends and, of course, looking out on the water.

     He wanted his epitaph to read:

     “When someone dies, you don’t “get over it” by forgetting; you “get over it” by remembering, and by remembering you are aware that no person is ever lost once they have been in our lives and loved us as we have loved them.”  Leslie Marmon Silko.

     Emblazoned in our hearts and minds forever...WOW - - what a ride, indeed!


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