The list of early day pioneers in this valley was thinned still more by the death Sunday evening of George B. Cooke, one of the most widely known of early valley settlers [died June 6, 1926]. He had been suffering for the past three or four years from heart trouble and since last fall his life has been a question of time. Doctors had repeatedly given up hopes for his life from week to week but the same indomitable spirit that helped him wrest prosperity from the raw lands of this valley seemed to prolong his life and he fought on and on with the knowledge that time would finally prove the master over his ever weakening condition. He died as he lived, unfaltering and unafraid.
George B. Cooke first came to Ellensburg with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Cooke, when a boy of six years. The family settled northeast of the valley on the creek since named Cooke Creek. While not on the original ranch he has lived in the same vicinity for 62 years and from early manhood he has been interested in the raising of beef cattle. He has made a marked success of his venture and was recognized as one of the leading stockmen in the state.
He was one of the first to become interested in the Ellensburg Rodeo, and for the past two years has been one of the directors in charge of livestock. His ill health prevented his serving at the beginning of this year and his son, Guy, was appointed in his place. He was voted a director for life at a meeting held a few weeks ago.
Mr. Cooke was born in Polk County, Oregon, in 1864, his parents being among the first settlers of that region. In 1884 he married Miss Emma Rader, another pioneer of the valley. She survives him [Emma died five months later] with six children, Mrs. Charles Bull of Calgary; Chester, Guy, Mrs. Wilfred Baird, Florence, and Lloyd.
There are two sisters, Mrs. P. H. Schnebly of Ellensburg and Mrs. A. B. Whitson of Yakima, and one brother M. D. Cooke of Ellensburg.
The deceased was a member of the Ellensburg Methodist Church for 12 years, and the funeral services will be held there today. The Masonic Lodge of which Mr. Cooke was a member is in charge of the services and will furnish the pall bearers. Mr. Cooke also was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
Mr. Cooke went through all the experiences of the pioneer, including trading in the only center available at that time. The Dalles, Ore., and used to drive herds of cattle to Seattle through Snoqualmie Pass.
Contributed by: Sheli Steedman