Funeral services will be held here Wednesday afternoon for Guy W. Cooke, 64, Ellensburg native and prominent Kittitas Valley cattlemen who died of a heart attack Saturday morning [December 17, 1955] at his home in the Wilson Creek area. Cooke was Kittitas County Cattleman of the Year in 1953.
The services will be held at 2 o’clock at the First Methodist Church with Rev. Miller C. Lovett officiating. Burial will be in the IOOF Cemetery. The family requests that those who desire to send remembrances in lieu of flowers make memorial contributions to the Heart Fund. Six first cousins will serve as active pallbearers. They are Carl Cooke, Frank Schnebly, Willis Bailes, Ben Rader, Lester Cooke, and Art Huss. Cooke was stricken as he walked in the yard of his ranch home. His body was found by Barney Roberts of the Kittitas County Public Utility District staff, who had been called to the ranch to repair a light.
Cooke was born in 1891, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. George B. Cooke, pioneer valley residents who came here in 1870. The family has been in cattle continuously since that time. Cooke was born on his parents’ ranch within a mile and a half of the ranch he was operating at the time of his death. He had lived all his life in the Kittitas Valley. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Catherine Cooke, two sons, Glen Cooke of Ellensburg and George B. Cooke of Wisdom, Mont.; three daughters, Mrs. Marion Callow of Seattle, Mrs. Eva Page of Ellensburg, and Mrs. Louise Palmerton of Grants Pass, Ore.; a brother, Lloyd Cooke of Tacoma; a sister, Mrs. Charles Bull of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and 12 grandchildren.
Boy and man, Cooke was in the cattle business more than 40 years, making his slash brand one of the best known in the state. After graduation from grade and high school in Ellensburg, he attended Washington State College and returned here to join his father in the operation of one of the largest livestock operations in the valley. He was associated with his father until 1929, when he began operating his own spread on a portion of the Cooke holdings.
He had seen and in some cases pioneered many changes in the livestock industry, including the use of irrigated pastures. He was one of the first operators in the county to feed cattle to slaughter weights, feeding out three-year-old steers entirely on hay. Cooke bought the present place in 1939, sold 1,000 of the 2,300 acres and has steadily improved it since that time. That development was reflected by his selection two years ago as the Kittitas County Cattleman of the Year because of the livestock setup which the selection committee found met high standards on every count.
Cooke said when he was selected for the county honor that he had seen the market drop hard four times. He anticipated the drop of recent years and liquidated his herd in 1951 and was building a polled Hereford herd at the time of his death.
He was active throughout his life in community affairs. He was a past chairman of the Fairview Farm Bureau and a past director of the Kittitas County Cattlemen’s Association and a member of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association. His father was one of the organizers of the Ellensburg Rodeo and like his father, Cooke furnished cows, calves, and bulldogging steers for the show during its early days. He was interested in 4-H club and Future Farmers of America activities. He was a member of the Methodist Church. His eldest son was born to his first wife, who died in 1920 . In 1921 he married Catherine Shotwell, and four children were born to them.
Ellensburg Record, December 19, 1955
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman