The Rev. Edward Cook — the
Gloucester County Children’s
Choir 2012 Person of the Year
When it came time for the Board of Trustees to select an individual as this year’s Person of the Year, there was no debate, as this year’s Honoree has done so much for the children, and indeed, for so many people in Southern New Jersey, that we feel honored to have him as the loyal patron and supporter of our Choir that her has been. The Reverend Edward R. Cook has been a blessing to our Choir and we honor and thank him for all that he has done for the children of the Gloucester County Children’s Choir, as an enthusiastic supporter in every sense of the word.
Fr. Cook was born in Penns Grove, NJ and raised by his grandparents, who moved the family to Millville, and he graduated from Millville High School. After that, he was off to the Navy, where he was a Pharmacist Mate,(and was served milk and donuts by Bette Davis, no doubt igniting his early love of the arts). Not yet “Fr. Cook” but Sailor Cook, he spent World War II in San Diego at Balboa Marine Base. From there, he went to Canterbury College in Indiana on the G.I. bill, and then on to Temple for his Master’s Degree in Education. As Mr. Cook, he was an outstanding math teacher, but mathematics loss became the Church’s gain when he received the call to the priesthood, which led him to Berkley at Yale School of Divinity.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Clarksboro was Fr. Cook’s first Church in approximately 1958. He also served at Christ Church in South Amboy and Grace-St. Paul’s in Merchantville before “retiring” in 1989. Since then, Fr. Cook has served as an interim or supply priest continuously throughout the Southern New Jersey area, especially at his beloved St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Woodstown, where he went to serve a two week stint as a supply priest fifteen years ago and has remained to this day. It was at St. Luke’s that he celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his ordination on October 28, 2011. To his “everlasting joy,” the Gloucester County Children’s Choir sang at that auspicious occasion. Fr. Cook is a member of the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross
Fr. Cook met his beloved wife of fifty-four years, Marie, while washing dishes at a church supper in Millville. Until her death in 2001, she was the love of his life and vice versa. Their daughter, Marie Kathleen Stafford, accompanies her dad to the Choir concerts and her support is also much appreciated.
Fr. Cook has served on the Board of the American Lung Association, as well as on the Board of Family Promise of Gloucester County. He has given blood regularly every fifty-four days since the War, started the Girl Scouts of East Greenwich Twp, and served on the Girl Scout Council—his civic achievements just go on and on!
Fr. Cook is an outstanding role model for our children. Without him, there would not be a scholarship fund, but more than his financial support, he has proven a loyal supporter of the Choir, attending their performances and fundraisers with unswerving devotion. Fr. Cook feels that while pure talent is a gift from God, it needs to be nurtured and supported to thrive. Few do as much as he has to nurture and support the God given talent of our young people and we love and thank him for his generous heart.