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Donna Lorraine Cook, 89, also known as Ms. Donna, Granny Cook, and Mama, passed away on October 2, 2023. She was born to blind parents, raised with a multitude of cousins, and died with the peace of a woman who knew she was loved. Her spirit was strong but, in the end, her body failed her. Always the peacemaker, always a harbor of comfort, she spent her time here on earth giving of her heart and soul.
She never saw herself as brave, but what would you call a young girl who left her sheltered existence of childhood to stand by a man, who was, to say the least, difficult? But stand she did because loyalty was her gift to others.
From a naive eighteen-year-old to a young army wife who moved to Arkansas to live with in-laws she had never met, what do you call her if not brave? But it didn't take long for her to learn cooking, canning, churning, and the other Southern ways of surviving after the depression.
It was a hard life of moving every couple of years and raising three stairstep children with an additional unexpected step twelve years later. She never faltered. She just did what was needed and took every opportunity to learn and grow.
She taught herself mail-order taxidermy and stuffed a coot. She loved music and taught herself chords on the guitar. She would tune in to the old AM radio and listen to country songs over and over until she had all the words written down.
She was a keeper of journals of everyday life but also the special milestones. Life to her was somewhat a mystery, especially after the death of her first-born son. That was until her later years when her dedicated son and daughter-in-law helped lead her to the Lord, and that came with a built-in family that she cherished.
She always knew of God, apparent from the fact that she saved money to purchase a beautiful white family Bible when her children were young and struggled to feed the family. She knew the kind of nourishment their souls needed.
She didn’t speak often of her childhood but one memory she shared stands out. Her father, a blind-since-birth factory worker, took her with him and hitchhiked into the city so he could get prosthetic eyes the same beautiful blue color as hers. He’d never seen them, only imagined them through the eyes of others. But now he is reunited with his daughter in heaven and will be able to see those beautiful blue eyes with his own. And we can take comfort in the fact that Donna is in the arms of God, with no troubles, no worries, no pain. And we can smile today because she is reunited with the son, she hasn’t seen in over forty years, and her daddy, who can finally see his daughter's face.
Donna was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend whose memory will forever be cherished in the hearts of those who loved her.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Hilma Sharrow; husband, Billie Joe Cook; brother, Glenn Sharrow; and son, Stephan Wayne Cook. She is survived by her daughter, Brenda MacDonald (Robb) of Concord, Arkansas; sons, Larry Cook (Cheryl) of Locust Grove, Arkansas, and Willie Cook (Malia) of Fountain Hills, Arizona; grandchildren, Joey Cook (Syndal) of Conway, Arkansas, Justin Cook (Jennifer) of Mountain View, Arkansas, Daniela Cook of Fountain Hills, Arizona, Olivia Cook of Fountain Hills, Arizona, Tara Tate of Batesville, Arkansas, Mo MacDonald of Concord, Arkansas, Falon MacDonald (Austin) of Russellville, Arkansas; and great-grandchildren, Ryder Cook of Conway, Arkansas, Mylee Jo Cook of Conway, Arkansas, Ladd Cook of Mountain View, Arkansas, Lincoln Cook of Mountain View, Arkansas, Leo Cook of Mountain View, Arkansas, and Miranda MacDonald of Concord, Arkansas.
A visitation will be held at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday, October 5, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The funeral service, officiated by Joey Cook and Gary Don Fletcher, will be held following the visitation at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at Alderbrook Cemetery.