Our beloved Michael “Mike” Alan Cook, 68, passed away in Salt Lake City, UT, on Thursday, September 30, 2021, with his wife, daughter and a few close family members by his side.
Mike was born on March 15, 1953, in Bakersfield, CA, to JR Kendrick and Virginia “Ruth” Taylor Kendrick. He was adopted as an infant by Ruth’s sister and husband, Willard Donald Cook and Quintie “June” Taylor Cook. He was raised around both families, siblings and cousins, whom he loved and considered all as his siblings.
He lived in Oxnard, CA, during his later childhood years and graduated from Oxnard High School in 1971. He joined the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 484 in 1971 as an apprentice, become a skilled pipefitter and welder, and worked as a Journeyman, Foreman, and Superintendent until he retired after 40 years in 2011. He was a stickler for safety and doing the job right, never cutting corners. When a manager or worker tried to bend the rules, he found creative ways to teach them to do it right. He trained many apprentices and made many friends on the job.
Mike met his wife, Diane Corrine Crome, in 1975 at Sambo’s restaurant in Simi Valley, CA. Diane was a waitress and Mike would stop in for coffee on the way to his job. He liked to tease her, often placing a $1 bill tip on the table under an upside-down glass full of water. They married on June 28, 1980 at the court house in Las Vegas, NV, and lived in Oxnard, CA, until retirement. They adopted their son, James Garcia, into their lives and hearts in 1980 and had their daughter, Patricia “Tricia” Lynn Cook, in 1983. They also welcomed their grandsons Frank and Max Garcia into the world.
Mike was a generous, smart, hard-working man, with a great sense of humor. He gave his time, talents, and money to help family and friends when they needed it. Together, Mike and Diane gave their love to and helped many kids in their neighborhoods and local schools.
He loved traveling in the RV with his family and friends. They would stay at the beach or other local spots on the weekends and go to out-of-state destinations on longer summer trips. They visited all states west of the Mississippi River in their RV over the years. His favorites places to visit were the beach, the forests of Colorado, and national parks, especially Yellowstone. After spending the day exploring the wilderness and towns, he enjoyed sitting around the campfire sharing humorous stories and laughing.
His lifelong hobby was working on hot rods and taking them out cruising. A usual scene at the Cook house was finding the garage door open, music playing, and Mike’s legs sticking out from under the car he was working on. He owned over 80 vehicles, starting with a car he bought with the $400 his dad gave him when he was 16 years old. Diane
bought him his dream car, a red Corvette C6, and later they traded this in for a white Corvette Z06. He would only take the Corvette out when the weather was around 75 degrees with blue skies, which he called “Corvette weather.”
He retired in 2011 and he and Diane built a beautiful home in Nampa, ID. He enjoyed time with his new neighbors, the farmers he had coffee with almost every morning, and a few long-time friends who also moved to Nampa.
Mike had a massive heart attack on February 20, 2017. He was flown to the University of Utah hospital for care by their incredible cardiovascular team. After 5 months in the ICU, he successfully had a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) placed and after 1 month of recovery, finally left the hospital! They grew very close to the members of his care team during his 6-month stay, many of whom have stayed involved and in-touch ever since.
Though he struggled medically after the heart attack, including 9 life flights to the University of Utah Hospital for expert care, he still loved being with family and friends. While his body had weakened, his wit remained strong and he took every opportunity to make people laugh, especially Diane. He enjoyed long chats on the phone and spending time with every visitor who stopped by. Diane was by his side, caring for his every need both in and out of the hospital, to the very end. He couldn’t have had a more loving or attentive care giver.
On September 22, Mike sustained a fall and hit his head, which caused a small brain bleed. Sadly, after a week of recovery, the brain bleed returned very suddenly and caused irreparable brain damage. A few hours later, with his wife and family by his side, he passed away peacefully.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Diane Corrine Cook; his son James Garcia and daughter Tricia King (Kevin); grandsons Frank Garcia and Max Garcia; siblings Anita Frede (Larry), Steve Kendrick (Donna), Richard Kendrick (Karen “Kitty”), Karen Benjamin (Richard), Eddie Kendrick (Karen “Jan”), David Kendrick (Charlotte); Jane Vanlandingham (Todd Augustine); parents-in-law Bill Crome (Barbara) and Hannah Stanton (Dan), and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents Willard & Quintie Cook and JR & Ruth Kendrick, his brother Charles “Bud” Cook, daughter-in-law Barbara Stein Garcia, niece Susan Jauch, niece Shawna Kendrick, and nephew Bobbie Kendrick.
A special thanks to those who helped Diane during Mike’s illness: Mike & Diane McDonald, Jim & Sharon Exler, John & Helen Watts, Bobbie Atwood, Phyllis Montgomery, Robert Herrera, and Jayne King.
Thank you to all the amazing care givers that helped us learn how to care for Mike with an LVAD, directed us when he was sick, took care of him during his many hospital stays, and gave us a shoulder to cry on when it was really hard: U of U cardiovascular team & VAD coordinators, nurses chips & salsa Jennifer, eyelash Jessica, PT Brian, Tosha Johnson NP, Dr. Lam, Shannon Gardiner NP, and Dr. Harf. And thank you nurses Garrett and Chelsea for helping us through the final hardest day.
To honor Mike, a casual graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 16th, 2021 at 1:00pm at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery (3115 Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Height, UT 84121). All are welcome to attend, with standing room available or you may bring a lawn chair. Please wear blue or something colorful to celebrate Mike’s life. We will also attempt to live stream the service and will post that information in the comments.
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