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More than 1,600 pay tribute to coach, wife

December 23, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG - As a popular high school running coach, Tim Cook always got the limelight. But his wife, Sue, was by his side at the meets, keeping time with a stopwatch or marking records.

The passion for life and family values that the couple shared will live on despite their tragic deaths in a Dec. 13 traffic accident, the Rev. Christopher T. Little said at a community memorial service Saturday.

"They were a team that you and I can cherish," he said.

More than 1,600 people gathered here Saturday for a worship service that celebrated the Chambersburg, Pa., couple.

"Your being here today is a tribute that will be remembered for years to come," Little told the overflow crowd in Chambersburg Area Senior High School's auditorium.

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Those who couldn't find a seat in the 1,484-seat auditorium watched the service on closed-circuit television in the school cafeteria.

The couple saw a lot of success in their lives, said Little, pastor at the couple's church, Mount Pleasant United Brethren in Chambersburg.

Sue Cook, 49, was an administrative assistant at Shippensburg (Pa.) University. She had also worked at the Scotland (Pa.) School for Veterans Children.

Tim Cook, 49, was a math teacher at the school for 28 years and was the only coach the Trojan girls cross country team has ever had.

People wanted to be around them and they always made time for others, Little said.

But their love for God and respect for the importance of family were the most important things in their lives, he said. They would have marked their 26th wedding anniversary Dec. 27.

Little told the couple's children, who are in college, to go to Pizza Hut this week so they can hold onto what had become a special report card reward.

"Not one victory, not one ribbon, not one medal compares to one of your report cards," Little told Brian and Allison. "Careers come and go but what you do with your children lasts from generation to generation."

Tim Cook was a longtime Philadelphia Phillies fan, thanks to his late father, Richard Cook.

But when his son Brian decided to follow the Oakland Athletics, Tim Cook went to those games instead.

"He'd give up the Phillies to see a smile on his son's face," Little said.

An hour before the 90-minute service began, friends gave their condolences to members of the family who mingled in the lobby. Family pictures were on display and there were four guest books for visitors to sign.

As people found their seats, the sound of instrumental inspirational music filled the auditorium and people stopped to comfort one other.

The auditorium hushed when the family walked down the aisle to take their place in front.

In between prayers and Scripture readings, Sunday School teacher Denny Thrush sang "The Lord's Prayer." Steve Noble, who was best man at the couple's wedding, also sang, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica.

Little invited people in the community to share their stories about the couple through e-mail. He promised to compile the stories for the family.

"We all run the race of life. In our hearts, we all wish that for Tim and Sue it was a much longer marathon," Little said.

Little ended his sermon by asking that those who want to emulate the Cooks look to their hero, Jesus Christ.

"If you want to follow in Tim and Sue's footsteps, you need to ask more than, 'What would Tim and Sue do?' You have to ask, 'What would Jesus do?" Little said.

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