Cooke, Shirley Craig

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Shirley Claudine Craig Cooke, “Wildebeest”, 83 went home to Jesus on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at Highland Ridge Health and Rehab Center in Dublin. She was born on January 13, 1937 in Pulaski, to the late William Jordan Craig, Sr. and Emily Claudine Thornton Craig. She was preceded in death by her son, Phillip Tracy Cooke, her brother, William Jordan “Dub” Craig, Jr., 2 grandchildren, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Our mother was a warrior. She survived chest-down paralysis at age 15. Doctors said she would never walk again, nor bear children. 11 months later, all glory to God, she walked out of the hospital totally healed and went on to marry and have 3 of us – and meet Elvis Presley via a backstage reception at the Mosque in Richmond.

Some years later as a single parent, she learned accounting and bookkeeping by correspondence course and was whip-smart with numbers. She worked for Walker Jenkins Trucking and Mayberry Buick as a bookkeeper for a number of years. Later, she became Composition Room Director at the Southwest Times and loved it and the people she worked for and with, and per usual, did it with excellence. She loved to read and was quite the wordsmith and throughout our lives wouldn’t allow us to use improper speech. At the same time, she was a nut with a razor-sharp sense of humor and showed us how laughter is indeed the best medicine. She was an amazing seamstress, played piano skillfully by ear, and was a master fisherwoman.

She survived 3 major strokes 17 years ago; doctors said any of the 3 is typically fatal. She pulled through and still lived on her own until 2013. She lived what she taught us: GOD is in control; You get out of this world what you put into it; anything worth doing is worth doing RIGHT, and most of all, never give up and stand up for what you believe. She would tell us that if we were in the right, she would back us up 100%, but if we were in the wrong, we were on our own.

She was an awesome, responsible, fiercely loving and committed MOTHER first, (not our friend!) as we grew up. She knew this was her job and didn’t hesitate to check us when we tried to be stupid as kids will do sometimes. At the same time, she would fight Hell itself to protect us. She did without a lot, including food at times, to make sure we were taken care of and that our lives would be better. As adults our relationship evolved into a deep friendship, more so after we lost our brother (who gave her the nickname).

In her last moments she was still Momma, not wanting to leave us girls alone. We know she prayed a Momma’s prayers right up until her last breath. God perfectly chose her to be our mother and we are so thankful He did! She never quit on us, not even once in her life, but thankfully, when Jesus (her Strength) called her, she finally was able to let go and take His hand. From cradle to grave, she was inside-out beautiful, and now she dances around the throne. Our hearts are broken but she is worth every tear, and we will see her again. Love NEVER dies!

She is survived by: daughters; Regina C. Quesenberry and husband Steve of Draper, and Dr. Tamara D. Black and husband Rodney of Wytheville: grandchildren; Scott Quesenberry and wife Katie of Pulaski, and Sara D. Frye of Draper: Great-grandchildren; Cage, Ben and Ava Quesenberry, Hailey, Kyra and Quinten Cole, all of Pulaski: nieces; Kim C. Bunch and Pam C. Jungers of TN.

A private graveside service will be held in Mt. View Cemetery with Pastors Marcus Harrison and Matt Linkous officiating. A public memorial service will be announced at a later time.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. Psalm 116:15.

Special thanks to Dr. Campbell and the outstanding nursing care of Highland Ridge, and to Sydney and the wonderful staff at Good Samaritan Hospice for their excellent care.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Arrangements by Seagle Funeral Home, Pulaski.