Sandy, Utah - Evelyn Afton Nelson Cook, 93, passed away peacefully at the home of her daughter, Debra on September 5, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. Evelyn had just celebrated her 93rd birthday on August 29th when her family surprised her with a party where she danced, laughed, and celebrated time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Evelyn was warm, loving, and adored by all around her. She enjoyed life up to the very end.
Evelyn was born in Pegram, ID on August 29, 1928, to Ernest Nelson and Rhoda Bigelow Nelson. Her brother, Richard Nelson was her best friend, and as a child, Evelyn loved to run through the rugged but beautiful mountains of Pegram with Richard at her side. Unfortunately, when Evelyn was only 11, her mother Rhoda passed away suddenly. This tragedy had a tremendous impact on her life, but Evelyn moved ahead with faith and courage despite her loss.
After her mother’s passing, Evelyn moved with her father and brother to Union, Utah. When she was thirteen years old Evelyn went to live with her Aunt Gertrude Stradley who raised her from then on. Aunt Gertrude was a loving mother-figure to Evelyn and treated her as one of her own, which Evelyn appreciated for the rest of her life. Evelyn graduated from Jordan High School in 1947 with many dear friends who continued to have lunch regularly throughout their lives until there were only a few of them left. As a teenager, Evelyn met the handsome and charming Vardis Marion Cook. They courted, fell in love, and wrote to each other diligently while Vardis served in the Merchant Marines during World War II. When he returned, they were married on June 4, 1947, in the Salt Lake Temple. Vardis and Evelyn set an example of love and commitment throughout their lives. Vardis passed away in 2010, and even though Evelyn missed him dearly, she knew she would be with him again for eternity. We are grateful they are now reunited.
Evelyn was an angel who loved to serve and care for others, whether it be her family, friends, or strangers. Her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were always her priority. Evelyn believed in the refining power of work. Even in her final years, Evelyn worked hard every day. Upon arising in the morning, she would think to herself, “What job should I do today?” She was never content to just sit. Friends and family would often find her weeding her garden, picking vegetables or fruit, cleaning her house, or cooking. Evelyn and Vardis raised seven children: Kent (Debbie) Cook, Richard (Sherilyn) Cook, Jeanine (John) Evans, Debra (Lyle) Buchanan, Ralph (Kim) Cook, Nancy (Pete) Dolle, and Tonya (Brad) Neilson.
Evelyn loved the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and Vardis served a mission for the church in Big Bear, CA. Throughout her life, she served in numerous callings. At the age of 81, she and Vardis were serving as Primary teachers up until the time of his passing. Her example of living a righteous life is a legacy to her family. She was a true follower of Christ. Due to her last name, diminutive size, and warm personality, many of Evelyn’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren loved to call her “Grandma Cookie.”
Evelyn is preceded in death by her father, Ernest Nelson; mother, Rhoda Nelson; brother, Richard Nelson; sister-in-law, Lois Nelson Bouck; her husband, Vardis Cook; daughters Janette Cook, Lynne Cook, and Nancy Dolle; grandsons Ryan Cook and Scott Cook; and daughter-in-law, Karen Cook. Vardis and Evelyn have 9 children, 34 grandchildren, and 108 great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held Friday, September 10, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Goff Mortuary, 8090 So. State St., Midvale, Utah. Funeral services will be Saturday, September 11, 2021, at 11:00 am, at the LDS church located on 8060 So. 615 E., Sandy, Utah. There will be a viewing prior to the funeral from 10:00 am until 10:40 am. Interment will be at Sandy City Cemetery on 700 E. 9000 So., Sandy, Utah.
The funeral services will be live-streamed on the Goff Mortuary Facebook page.
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