Gloria June Cook was born at home in Silverton, Texas on June 11, 1934. “Glory June” as she was known in childhood, grew up as an only child though her cousin, Molly Sue, was like a sister. Gloria told childhood stories of dressing up her kittens in baby doll clothes and taking them out in the stroller, and getting her ears pierced by the neighbor without her mother’s permission. Her mother’s peach pie was her favorite. Growing up in the Texas panhandle during the Great Depression likely informed Gloria’s character – she was tough as nails, got things done without any fuss, and didn’t complain. She was also an excellent cook (with nothing ever going to waste), kept a very clean, proper home (with 3 kids and a full-time job), and always grew a beautiful flower and vegetable garden.
As a registered nurse, she worked in several different areas of nursing throughout the years, including a few years as a traveling nurse in both San Francisco and Honolulu. After moving back to Texas, her Uncle George set her up on a blind date with the son of a fellow cattle trader. That fateful day – she had lunch with Melvin Dean Cook in the restaurant at the Amarillo stockyards. Six months later, they were engaged. They married on June 16, 1962, and started their long, happy marriage, with 3 kids and many adventures along the way.
Melvin’s career took them all over the Midwest – they made life-long friends and had children while moving to Wilmar MN, Nappanee IN, Salina KS, Girard KS, Billings MT, Saginaw TX, Vega TX, Amarillo TX, Geary OK, New Ulm MN, Portales NM, and Dibbs IA and finally landed in Enid, OK. She was the Director of Nursing at Enid Memorial Hospital, and then finished her career as a Public Health Nurse at the Garfield County Health Department. Sewing, quilting, tatting, crochet, knitting, smocking – you name the handicraft, Gloria had at least tried it and probably mastered it. Her favorite though was quilting, and she likely made hundreds of quilts over the years for family, friends, and charities.
Helping others was an important part of Melvin and Gloria’s faith and life together. They started fostering children in Minnesota and continued to do so for several years in Enid and later supported the foster care ministry at Holsinger House. They together planned, cooked and served meals once a week at Our Daily Bread for over 15 years. They went on many medical mission and disaster relief trips in the U.S., Mexico and Bolivia and worked several years at summer camps for kids with incarcerated parents. Gloria volunteered in several quilting groups and co-founded a sewing ministry at her church to teach children to sew. When their kids were grown, Melvin and Gloria also took in a foreign exchange student for a year and gained a Brazilian daughter, Tamara Goes.
Gloria lived a long, fulfilling and healthy life, was a breast cancer survivor of almost 30 years, and left this earth due to complications related to Alzheimer’s. Gloria had a strong Christian faith – and so loved and valued her church community of 50 years at Enid First United Methodist Church. She passed away at home with a big smile on her face, meeting her Lord and Savior Jesus, and likely seeing Melvin running up behind Him to greet her.
Gloria was preceded in death by her parents Albert (Ab) Green Stevenson and Annie Jane (Bragg) Stevenson, infant brother Jerry Stevenson, and husband of 55 years, Melvin Cook. She is survived by her three children, son Dean Cook and spouse Tori, daughter C Tyler Storm, and daughter Sarah Cook; grandchildren Daniel, Jeff, Scott (spouse Sarah) and Marc Kuhlmeyer, Joseph, Amalia and Violet Cook; great-grandson Ed Kuhlmeyer; as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.