By Melissa Ierlan, Clarendon Town Historian
CLARENDON – Ida M. Brace Cook born March 30, 1910. The first time I saw this I was sad to think that a person had passed away and a date of death wasn’t on her headstone.
This was probably 2012 and little did I know that this woman was still alive. I discovered that she was living in New York City somewhere. Several years went by and I thought of her every time I was in the cemetery. I learned a little more about her and her connection with a well known family from Clarendon.
I discovered that an old family photo album of the Cook family had been donated by her to our county historian who then donated it to the Clarendon Historical Society.
Fast forward to 2016, and I find myself in NYC visiting the Museum of Natural History. By this time I was able to locate and contact Mrs. Cook with the help of Bill Lattin and made arrangements to visit her. Mrs. Cook was 106 years old when I met her and lived in a nursing home in NYC. She visited with me for an hour or so and told me the story of how she grew up in Albion and how she met Gordon Cook, a descendant of Lemuel Cook, the Revolutionary War soldier who lived in Clarendon.
She spoke of his family, especially his mother who made her way to the USA with an ox cart and her children by herself. Gordon was many years older than Ida when they married but they made a life and did quite well.
Mrs. Cook was very independent up until an accident in 2013 which left her in a wheelchair. She went from assisted living into a nursing home. She had a very sharp mind and although she was almost deaf, she would respond to written questions and speak about anything you could ask.
Before I left the nursing home, she was giving me suggestions of places in NYC that I might go to eat. She even gave directions on how to get to several places. She was a very remarkable woman and I feel fortunate to have met her even for a short visit.
Mrs. Cook passed away last week on Aug. 22. She will be laid to rest on Wednesday, August 30, at 1 p.m. at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon. There will be a graveside service. The public is welcome to attend.