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Iris and Willis Cook


Nina Iris Cook

Nina Iris (Murray) Cook, 85, passed away Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.

She was born March 24, 1931, at Upland, Ind., to Charles and Mary Murray. Charles was a ministerial student at Taylor University. Due to the depression years, Charles was forced to leave school. He took his small family; wife, son and newborn daughter, to Wisconsin, where they lived on his parent's farm. After the depression, he became a church builder, building church buildings and pastoring until the congregation was large enough to be on their own, then moving to begin all over again. Thus several schools were attended by his children.

She graduated from the Merrill Wisconsin High School in 1949. She attended Olivet College for two years, worked for two years in Milwaukee, Wis., at Western Electric until her marriage to Willis Cook on April 3, 1954. Three sons and one daughter were born in Milwaukee, Wis.

In 1967, Willis and Iris moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., so that he could attend Nazarene Bible College. A fourth son was born while there. After graduation from Nazarene Bible College, a baby girl was born in Havre. Pastorates for Willis and Iris were Havre, Helena, Powell, Wyo. and Glasgow.

She was preceded in death by her parents, one sister and three brothers.

Survivors include four sons, Donald, Wayne, Bruce and Norman; two daughters, Amber Flores and Charlyn Reece; 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, as well as one brother Jim Murray and one sister-in-law, Susie Murray.

Iris worked beside her husband, Willis, in all of his pastorates, doing whatever needed to be done that no one else was doing-working behind the scenes. She taught Sunday school classes, beginning as a teenager in her daddy's churches, continuing on throughout her adult life. After her children were grown, she worked in nursing homes caring for people with needs. Her children felt her love and caring. Now it is shown to her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Condolences may be sent to Amber Flores, 708 Sumner St., Sheridan, WY 82801.

Willis Ray Cook

Willis Ray Cook, 86, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.

He was born Oct. 8, 1931, in Webster City, Iowa. His father Roscoe headed out two weeks later to homestead some land in Douglas County, Wis., near Superior. Roscoe took his household goods and family, which consisted of wife Laura, two sons, Lloyd and Richard, two daughters, Esther and Irene, along with new baby, Willis. First grade for Willis was attended at Patzau School. Other early grades were completed at Chafee Engine Hill and Bengston schools. He also attended two years at Billings School in South Superior, Wis. Willis left school in grade 11 after a family move.

In June 1949, he enlisted for a three year term in the US Army. Basic training was at Camp Funston, near Fort Riley, Kan. After basic, he was sent to Yokohama, Japan, to the 8th Army Headquarters. Shortly after the Korean War started in June 1950, he was sent to Pusan, Korea where he became part of the 5th Regiment combat team, the 555th Field Artillery Unit. They advanced to the Manchurian border until they were forced to retreat because of the massive Chinese invasion. About that time, Willis became very ill, was placed in the field hospital, flown to the Pusan Swedish Red Cross hospital, then back to Japan to make room for more battle casualties. Upon recovery, Willis was released from combat status and joined the Military Police with responsibilities for the Port of Yokohama. Upon completion of that assignment he was rotated back to the United States at Camp Irwin, Calif. After a few months there, he completed his extended enlistment. Willis was honorably discharged and returned to Wisconsin in August,1952.

About that time, Willis recalled hearing the evangelist/pastor at his mother, Laura's funeral say, "It behooves each one of us to be sure of our eternal destiny." Willis stated, "I made my way to the church of the Nazarene in Milwaukee where Jesus saved me, and later sanctified me wholly. It was also where I met the sweet dark-haired beauty, Iris Murray.

Over the years, six children were added to the family; Donald, Wayne, Bruce, Amber, Norman, and Charlyn. The family's early years were spent in rural Wisconsin, with Willis working at the American Motors Corporation. He worked on the Rambler automobile if you remember those cars.

In the early 1960s, Willis felt the call of God in his life to become a pastor. In 1967, he enrolled in Nazarene Bible college in Colorado Springs and the family made a life-changing move.

During college, Willis also did Fuller Brush sales work and Iris worked nights at Dunkin' Donuts to support the family. Norman was born during these years.

Willis graduated with excellent grades in the pioneer class in 1970. After graduation, Willis pastored simultaneously in Havre and Chinook, Mont. Chary was born while in Havre. Some years later, Willis served as associate pastor in Helena. His next pastorate was in Powell, Wyo. This was followed by the church in Glasgow, and interim time in Twin Bridges, Mont., and then back to Glasgow, where he eventually retired in July 2001.

Willis and Iris were bi-vocational most of the time when they pastored. Iris worked for the State of Montana as a nurse's aide and Willis was a sales rep for Electrolux. They enjoyed their retirement and many friends in Glasgow, despite receiving 105 inches of snow one winter.

In June of 2015, they made the quick decision to relocate from Glasgow to Roseburg, Ore. due to Willis's health. Amber packed them up in three days and put them on the train for Oregon. Roseburg allowed them quick access to the wonderful resources at the VA campus. The added benefit of having family closer allowed them 18 months of special times with kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

Willis was recently preceded in death by his wife Iris on November 14, 2016. Willis was also preceded by parents, Roscoe and Laura; two brothers, Richard and George; and three sisters, Ethel, Ruth Ann and Esther.

Willis is survived by his six children: Don Cook and his wife, Pam, of Sutherlin, Ore, Wayne and his wife, Liz, of Sebastopol, Calif., Bruce and his wife Nila, of McMinnville, Ore., Amber Flores of Sheridan, Wyo, Norman of Healdsburg, Calif., Charlyn and her husband, Steve, Reece of Nampa, ID.; 13 grandchildren: Roscoe, Willis, Christie, Grant, Lisa Amber, Jilianne, Laurel, Corrine, Roger, Jacob, Natalie, Elisa, and Seth. Eight great-grandchildren: Gabrielle, Annabelle, Nathaniel, Samuel, Aria, Bowen, Holly and Gray; two brothers, Lloyd and Stanley and four sisters, Irene Folks, Annabelle Petrusson, Julie McFadden and Patricia Betts.

Condolence may be sent to: Amber Flores, 708 Sumner St., Sheridan, WY 82801.


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