Lois Blanche Cook, 97 passed away Monday March 22, 2021 at her home in Garden Grove. She was born to Jeanette and John Haringsma on March 23, 1924, in Holland, Michigan. Lois was one of 5 sisters, Anne Lamb, Doris Lorraine Hoffman, Isla Jean Prelesnik and Ruth Elaine Hieftje. She had 3 brothers John Raymond, Henry George and Richard Vernon. She was brought up in the Dutch Reformed Church of Holland and the Christian faith and her love of Jesus Christ was the corner stone of her life.
She grew up in Decatur Michigan on a rented farm during the Depression in 1930 and in Montello Park Michigan in 1940, but mostly she lived in Holland Michigan. Lois graduated from Holland High School. She had an amazing voice and loved to sing and was second soprano in her high school choir. After graduation she worked in Holland at a bookstore but during WWII she worked at Fafney Bearings factory making ball bearings for our airplanes. In 1944 right after Christmas, her brother Richard introduced her to the love of her life, Ervin G. Cook, whom he had met at the Vets club. Erv had enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941 and had been overseas in the Pacific for 30 months straight during which the Marines lost his paperwork and forgot to give him leave. So Erv had 120 days of leave all at once in Holland where his family lived on a farm there, and when he met Lois, they dated as much as possible getting to know each other until he had to return to the Marine base in California.
In her own words, Lois told me:
“I followed him to California. I bought an old car (I don’t remember what kind) and was going to travel from Holland Michigan to Long Beach California. Being unmarried I traveled with Erv’s mom, Mary Helen Pontius Cook, until the car broke down in Benton Harbor, Michigan. From there we took a bus to Erv’s brother Clyde and his wife Fanny’s, and then I took the train to California alone. I lived with Erv’s sister Vivian in Long Beach and later with Pat and Jonny in Garden Grove.
Until we married, I traveled to Santa Ana on the Pacific Electric train to visit Erv every other week from April to August, while he reported to work as a marine to the base. We married on August 3, 1945 in Sana Ana and Auntie Pat and Mrs. Morgan, a USO lady, were the only guests… No fancy dress for me… we only had a few pictures… but it was perfect!”
How courageous she was! An amazing woman, during that tumultuous time!
Erv and she lived in Santa Ana, on base at El Toro, but mostly in Anaheim after Erv retired from the marine Corps in 1953, where they raised 3 children, Julie Anne, Douglas Irving and Kristina Marie.
They were very supportive and active in PTA, Band Boosters and Drill team and went to every football game and parade to help out and encourage us kids. We were blessed with wonderful loving parents… encouraging each of us in our endeavors and talents. Eventually, in 1986 they moved to Garden Grove.
Lois was very generous in giving of her time and support… for her children’s activities, school events and church ministries. With her love of singing and her talented voice, she sang in the First Presbyterian Church of Anaheim’s church choir and was active in the women’s ministry and she organized, set up and baked 6 crock pots of her delicious baked beans for every buffet… and there were many! As well she made centerpieces and did the setup and serving… I know as I helped.
She learned to sew at school in 3rd grade in Decatur Michigan and loved to sew! Lois became an excellent seamstress. She started a very successful sewing business she ran out of her home and sewed hundreds of custom designed drill team uniforms for all the local high schools.
Lois was all about family… and she was very close to hers. Erv would save up all his weeks of vacation and every 2 years they would carefully plan a tent and car trip to Holland Michigan, driving a different route each time visiting many national parks on route to Michigan to give us children the chance to see and explore the magnificent places in this great land she and Erv loved. (later we traveled by RV) So many wonderful memories…. and it was not easy, stopping to set up a tent with 3 young kids and sometimes two more when Doug and Julie brought friends.
When I asked her about her happiest moments (and saddest) for her 90th birthday scrapbook she said:
“August 1970 we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary… lots of friends and family.
In August 1995 we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary at Julie’s home on Orange Ave.So many happy occasions! Birthdays, graduations, Christmases, summer get-togethers… Celebrating with family is so special to me!Of course there were Julie’s weddings, your wedding Kris, the birth of 4 grandkids… Melissa, Carrie, Stacey and Eric! And now 5 great grandchildren… Ryan, Holly, Noah, Matthew and William! God is so good!”
“Mostly wonderful years… but into every life… sad times too. In 1980 my father (John Haringsma) died in August at the age of 91. My mother Jeanette died on Sept 27th, 1986 at the age of 93. They were both wonderful parents! And of course the sadness of losing Julie, so young to cancer at 52. It was so hard on us, especially your dad. He said it wasn’t right for a parent to bury their first born child. Last of all, the loss of my Erv. (He died in 1999 of congestive heart failure) There aren’t words to express that loss. Life continues to change my life. And yet now I have 5 great grandchildren to bring joy to my life. God continues to bless our family!”
Lois lived her strong faith which showed through her giving nature and the love she generously showered on everyone she knew, especially family but friends too.
I remember as a young child I was often so frustrated because after every Sunday church service, she would be stopped every few feet being hugged and talking to everyone after church, when I was just ready to go home and play. She knew everyone and they all loved her. They were her brothers and sisters in Christ and she loved them too.
Lois is survived by her sister Isla Jean, her son, Doug, her daughter Kris and her 4 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. All were blessed to have had her in their lives.
I am sure she was met in heaven by all her family who predeceased her… Her mother and father, her three brothers, her sisters, Dody, Ruthie, Anne, and her many brothers and sisters in Christ. And of course her husband Erv. Mostly though, meeting her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ face to face. What a happy reunion!
Kris, thank you so much for sharing about your mother’s life. Lois had a strong sensitivity about life and people. She knew what they needed. It is because of your mother, I met my husband of 55 years and had two beautiful children. Lois sang in the church with my to- be- husband. She told me to come to church and meet this handsome bachelor. I did. Through the years Lois and Erv treated our children as if they were their own. My parents had a New Year’s Eve Party every year. When Lois and Erv came, everyone wanted to dance with Lois. Lois made everything fun. I so want to thank Carrie and Holly for giving your mother such good care in her later years. It seems Doug came to see Lois almost daily, working on home improvements. And Janice came to stay for a period of time. Eric and Stacy lived with Lois different times. It seems the family was always supporting Lois. Lois changed my life by the things she said and did. I think everyone who met Lois could say the same..
My earliest memory of Aunt Lois was when she visited her mother, at 299 West 17th Street in Holland,MI, she had driven their Studebaker from Anaheim to Holland with her children. Everyone was very happy to see her and I remember it as being an amazing drive. Aunt Lois told us about the drive. She also brought with her copy of the Sunday L.A. Times, something which would change my world. As the family was happy to see Aunt Lois and her children, they were amazed at the job opportunities in the newspaper. This resulted in my family moving to Anaheim later that year and staying with Aunt Lois and Uncle Erv. My parents both got jobs and we moved a few blocks away but we continued to visit the Cooks. I remember being at their home a lot. I watched Uncle Erv continue to make improvements to their Pine street home. Aunt Lois was always welcoming and I know of her involvement in the PTA as when I was in the sixth grade my teacher told me if I didn’t behave he would tell my Aunt Lois.
Aunt Lois was always there for my emergencies, like when I had my car broke down near the Salton Sea. It was Aunt Lois who drove me and my mechanic friend to find my car and get it home. When my mother needed help cleaning our house on Cottonwood Circle Aunt Lois came to help. While they were cleaning my room, Aunt Lois found my Autopia drivers license from Disneyland, as she read the signature aloud “G. M. I. Nervous “, my Mom heard her and said “Oh Lois you should sit down and rest!” Aunt Lois and I were looking at each other and we had a big laugh! And when I would try and rebel Mom would bring Aunt Lois over and together they would present a formidable position which I could not overcome. Aunt Lois was not only loving but had a wonderful humorous side. As when she gave me a Christmas Present with instructions to not shake it! So of course I had everyone I know come over and shake it trying to guess what it was. Finally on Christmas I was excited to open her gift to find out what it was! It was peanut brittle! Love and humor and caring describe my Aunt Lois. Aunt Lois and Uncle Erv, were a wonderful team. It seemed there was nothing Uncle Erv couldn’t build or fix. He was amazing, I watched him build a beautiful fireplace at their Pine Street home, and Aunt Lois was just as brilliant with her sewing in their converted garage making uniforms.
Aunt Lois would also be host to our family members when they visited. I remember the visitors from the Netherlands and her sisters were always staying with her. I met so many relatives I can’t remember them all, but it was because of Aunt Lois I had the opportunity to meet them.
Aunt Lois would always ask me “How’s your Mom?”, I would tell her and realize that besides being my Mom she was asking about her sister. Aunt Lois always loved me and Mom, and was always wonderful to visit. I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful Aunt Lois. I love you and will miss you.
Lovingly, Jon D
Thank you for sharing this beautifully written biography of Lois. What a remarkable woman! I knew her through our choir at Anaheim First Presbyterian Church. Lois seemed to light up when she sang. She exhibited a deep kindness and caring for all. I send my love and prayers to Lois’s family. Sincerely, Tracy Stewart Ramont