Luella E. Cook

The Winthrop News

17 Feb 1983


Feb. 16, 1983, Miss Luella Cook will be 90. She was a well-loved teacher at Winthrop High, consolidated as East Buchanan…for, I guess, 20 years. She was known as a teacher whose students “got through college.” She is very much a ‘shut-in,’ yet so busy and cheerful that it is a joy to go visit her. You always leave her feeling better.

This great tribute to an equally great lady was received by the Winthrop News from William Sherren, Naperville, IL. Mr. Sherren also asked that she be interviewed, writing that her many students would love to see something about her.

Miss Cook was contacted, and while she graciously consented to an interview, she asked that the story not appear until after her birthday. She is a modest person and did not want to draw any special attention to her approaching birthday.

Luella E. Cook was born on a farm North of Masonville. Her parents were Edward and Mary (Ellis) Cook. Their rented farmhouse was in Buchanan County, but their barn w located in Delaware County.

As a young girl, she attended the same country school, The Brick School, as her father did. It was located in Coffins Grove Township.

In 1898 her family purchased a farm three miles East of Masonville, known as Oak Grove Farm because of the huge oaks in the front yard. The family still owns part of the original purchase.

Miss Cook’s memories focus on receiving her education and her teaching and her librarian careers. She is a graduate of the Manchester High School, attended Iowa State College from 1912-1914, received her BA degree from Cornell College in 1916, and earned her MA Degree at the University of Iowa in 1934.

She had planned a career as a library cataloger but changed her plans because of the depression and the lack of funds. To earn a living Miss Cook became a teacher. Her first position was at Emerson, a town in Southwestern Iowa. She also taught in Carroll, Perry, Charles City, and Knoxville. Later she taught in Jr. College in Red Oak, Emmetsburg, etc. and for one year in Minnesota. For 20 years she taught at the Winthrop High School.

To help with educational expenses, she worked on a small-town newspaper, in a florist shop, and in the diet kitchen of a hospital.

Throughout her 45 years of teaching, she left her mark on many lives. As Mr. Sherren said, she was known as the teacher whose students “got through college.”

“I enjoyed teaching and the young people,” Miss Cook said. Those same people haven’t forgotten her either, for many of her former students correspond with her and visit her when they are in the area.

Miss Cook has an excellent memory and can tell you where many of her former students live. She can also recall things they did when they were in her classes. Visiting with the folks is a special hobby of hers, along with reading. Her favorite novels are historical ones, and her most memorable trips were to historical sites.

Her parents are among the people who have influenced her the most. “They were always picking up a book to read to me when they had time,” she said. Among her precious memories are of her grandfather Cook who told her stories of his boyhood in New York and his ancestors.

Miss Cook said her high school Latin teacher, Miss Maude Graham, who held up high academic standards, was also a big influence on her. She also rates Dr. George Herbert Betts, author of “The Mind and it’s Education,” high on the list of those who improved her lifestyle. She was a student in two of his summer school classes. “He taught me to look on reaching as a profession,” she reminisced.

Miss Cook made special mention of Reverend Frank Moore of the Congregational Church in Manchester who, she said, “was a true friend to our family over many years.”

“There will always be changes. One must learn to adapt to them,” is one thing Miss Cook said she learned through living. She is a shut-in who has adapted to her situation while remaining cheerful, enjoying her hobbies, and being a delight to visit. She said she decided to “change” something this year… instead of sending out Christmas cards, she will be sending birthday cards with letters enclosed.

There are so many kind and thoughtful people in the Winthrop area who are so good to me,” she said. Those who know and love her feel she more than reciprocates for those kindnesses.

Published in The Winthrop News

17 Feb 1983

Typewritten by Larry A. Cook

20 Sep 1996

Transcribed by Eric L. Cook

31 Mar 2018

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