Merna Sarah Cook, age 102, passed away on April 30 at HospiceCare in Fitchburg.
She was born on January 11, 1917 in Vernon County to Frank and Sarah (Lepley) Burt.
Merna grew up on the family farm with her parents, three brothers and three sisters. She attended West Lima Grade School and High School graduating in 1935. Then she attended Teacher Training School in Viroqua.
Merna married Melbourne “Sam” Cook, the love of her life, on July 3, 1936 in Rockford, Illinois. They were married nearly 73 years.
In 1944 Merna and Sam moved to Sauk County where they purchased and operated the Irish Valley Cheese Factory until 1976 when they retired from the business and moved to Witwen. Coming from a long line of cheesemakers, Merna was instrumental in the success of the cheesemaking business, including managing the payroll and other bookkeeping duties.
Merna deeply loved her family and all the events that brought them together. She enjoyed car rides, reading books and listening to music. In recent years when her eyesight started failing she found comfort in listening to many books on tape.
She thoroughly enjoyed friends and neighbors and was well known for her sugar pie, homemade bread and her love of ice cream. She always had a jar of Oreo cookies available which made her especially popular with children. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother and will be greatly missed.
Merna is survived by four children: C. Monte (Patty) Cook, North Freedom; Roberta Becker, Prairie du Sac; Bonnie (Charles) Buell, Middleton; and Sidney (Lisa) Cook, Prairie du Sac; fourteen grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren; and sister Catherine Reed of Altoona, Wisconsin.
In addition to her parents, Merna was preceded in death by her husband; sisters, Beulah Parker and Martha Spangler; brothers, Durward Burt, Lester Burt, Floyd Burt; and grandson Benjamin Becker.
Merna greatly appreciated the care and companionship of her caregivers Kathy Jo and Sherian. The family extends appreciation to HospiceCare in Fitchburg for the devoted and thoughtful care provided during the last week of Merna’s life.
Visitation will be Monday, May 6 from 4-7 p.m. at the Hooverson Funeral Home, Sauk City. The service will be held on Tuesday, May 7 at 11 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church Leland, E7519 Highway C, WI 53951. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.