Fred we’ll miss your smile

Our always smiling friend Fred Cook relaxing with fellow OHS alumni at Alpine Brewery.

Our always smiling friend Fred Cook relaxing with fellow OHS alumni at Alpine Brewery.

Normally a class reunion is a happy time, a time to catch up with classmates you haven’t seen in a long time, or at least since the last reunion. Last weekend’s OHS Class of 1979 reunion was a happy time, although as many of you may know by now, we lost a great friend and classmate, Fred Cook, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Editorial Gary MugIf there was one thing you could count on from Fred was he was fun-loving and quick to smile. You couldn’t help but have a good time when he was around. And the Class of ‘79 did just that on Friday and Saturday, having a few laughs, swapping “remember when” stories and catching up on each other’s lives – making promises to keep in better touch.

At one point on Saturday, Fred, some fellow 79ers and I were recalling those Oroville classmates who couldn’t make it to the reunion. Not because of distance or busy schedules, but because they were no longer with us except in memory – Lloyd Campbell Jr., Kathy Thornton and Ron Ficker were all we could come up with. Little did any of us know that in a few short hours Fred too would be part of that list.

Most of us found out just before the Sunday picnic that a passersby had found our Fred thrown from his little convertible Fiat off the ‘Old Highway’ (County 7). He had never made it home. After it was announced we all agreed that Fred would have wanted us to have a good time with our friends and family and not to mourn. There was disbelief, some tears, anger, denial – and self-recriminations for letting him drive home. He seemed fine when he left Saturday night, turning down offers from those who had gotten motel rooms to sack out there with them. Sunday morning we had to realize what happened couldn’t be undone ­— was part of life. We consoled each other, but most of all we toasted Fred’s memory, laughed and carried on.

When you come from a small graduating class like Oroville’s it’s different then going to a big school. You grow up together and everyone is an integral part of each others lives – at least until life post high school takes you somewhere else. Life is short, so cherish the good memories and if you have any not so positive memories of school let them go – make friends while you can.

I’ll remember Fred most for his smile, his laugh and his good natured kidding. We will all keep his wife Jessie and Fred’s family in our thoughts and prayers. A memorial has been planned for Saturday, Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. at the Loomis Community Church.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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7 Responses to Fred we’ll miss your smile

  1. Vance McFarland August 22, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    To Fred Cook, the father of my nieces Nikki and Kayla Cook, grandfather to little Khai–RIP!

  2. Marty Deggeller August 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Fred helped me get situated here in Tonasket by hooking my pump and pressure tanks up so I could move in, and also did a lot of my plumbing and electrical work. He is missed by many, I'm sure.

  3. Brad Quinlan August 26, 2014 at 1:04 am #

    Sorry to hear the news. It's too bad. I enjoyed my visit and thanks for all the cherries I could eat.

  4. Frank Clements August 26, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    thank you Gary for that beautiful write up on my cousin fred. :-

  5. Jessie Cook August 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    That is the most beautiful article… Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

  6. Judy Campbell August 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    this is a wonderful article about fred, so glad you posted it for us to see.

  7. Cindy Styer August 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    he well be so missed love ya freddie

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