A life remembered

Boyd Cook 'was always busy doing for other people'

Boyd Cook 'was always busy doing for other people'

February 17, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back -- through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others -- at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Boyd McCoy Cook Sr., who died Feb. 2 at the age of 78. His obituary was published in the Feb. 5 edition of The Herald-Mail.

Boyd M. Cook Sr. was a man who gave gifts to people he loved all his life.

Those gifts were not the kind that could be wrapped up and tied with a ribbon -- they were much more precious.

"He taught me to stand up for myself," said daughter Sandy Janowski, remembering how her father didn't come to her aid when she bought a car in Baltimore.

The car turned out to be a lemon, and Sandy made a call to her father so he could help her out of her quandary.


"I remember he got stern with me," Sandy said. "He told me to handle it and I did -- all of us learned that from dad."

Daughter Carol Gipe recalled her years in school in Baltimore and the apartment she "shared" with her father.

"If he had a late meeting and didn't want to make the long drive to Boonsboro, he'd stay over," she said.

He always insisted on taking the sofa so she could have the only bedroom, she said.

While her father was in the hospital, Carol said they talked about those days and their experiences together.

They also talked about Boyd's second wife, Ginny, who came into the family's circle in 1997.

"Dad was here longer because of her," Carol said with affection for her stepmother.

Divorced for many years, Ginny agreed to go out on a date with Boyd in 1997, accompanied by their mutual friends, Fred and Janet Otto.

"I didn't plan to go down that road (marriage) again," Ginny said. "No way."

A recent widower, Boyd had just turned 67 and had five grown children. Ginny had three children of her own.

"Dad was lonely," said Boyd's daughter, Debbie Boyd. His first wife, Patricia, had died a year or so before he met Ginny.

Debbie said she knew her mother had told him to remarry when she passed away so Boyd wouldn't be alone.

"Ginny really watched out for dad," she said of her stepmother.

Ginny said their relationship began slowly, but strengthened as time passed.

"We would sit and talk for hours," she said. "I was born into the military, so we had a lot in common."

Despite Ginny's initial hesitation, the couple married in 1997.

"We figured, knowing dad, he'd get married to the first woman he felt comfortable with," said Boyd's only son, known as Chip. "Dad was lucky twice, marrying two great women."

Starting with his induction into the National Guard in his home state of Delaware in 1948, Boyd was involved in all facets of military service for the rest of his life.

He had risen to the rank of major general when he retired from his 42-year career in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.

Born in Delaware in 1930, Boyd grew up on the family farm working with his father and brother.

"My grandfather was in World War II," Chip said. "So my grandmother was trying to run the farm with her two sons and a daughter."

Shortly after Boyd met and married his first wife, the growing family moved to Washington County in 1958. Boyd was working for the Maryland Cooperative then.

Chip said he remembers how his father was involved with 4-H when his sisters were active in that organization. Chip was into Boy Scouts and said his father often took his troop to the old armory in Hagerstown so they could use the rifle range in the basement there.

"Boyd was always busy doing for other people," Ginny said. "He never got into playing bridge or golf in his later years ... he was too busy volunteering."

Longtime friend Harry Nogle spoke eloquently at Boyd's funeral about how Boyd always turned life's obstacles into challenges.

"Boyd would always say that we'll do the best we can," Harry said. And things would get done.

Daughter Nancy Haines remembers vividly her graduation from Boonsboro High School and her devastation when she thought her father wouldn't be able to attend because of military duties in Virginia.

"I was sitting on the front row. I looked out and saw him in the audience," Nancy said. "He had someone fly him there in a helicopter, landing on the Boonsboro football field."

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