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Nathaniel "Nat" Cooke '52

1935 - July 29, 2023


Nathaniel and Nancy met at a weekend-long chamber music house party in the mid-1950's, for which Nancy played the violin and at which Nat, for his part, fell in love with Nancy. This was the site of their first dance; a dance, it turns out, that would continue to spin and dip for almost seventy years, and which only ended when they departed this world together shortly after their 65th anniversary – Nat on July 29 and Nancy on July 30, 2023. All who knew them would agree that, of course, this was the only way Nat and Nancy would conclude their dance.

In 1978, Nathaniel and Nancy Cooke found their perfect home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where they lived for 43 years. They introduced themselves to their surprised neighbors by caroling from house to house with their two children, Tom and Rachel. Nat worked for Loctite Corporation, retiring after a cancer scare at age 57 to take a leadership role in Man to Man – a support group for men with prostate cancer. Nancy, a professional violinist, played for numerous ensembles including the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and was in high demand for classical music gigs in Cleveland and beyond.

When they weren't working or tending to their breathtaking garden, Nat and Nancy were busy collecting friends. They found many of these friends at Christ Episcopal Church, where they were parishioners and sang in the choir; many amongst the musicians who played with Nancy; and many others they met by happenstance. Each friend so collected was treated as someone special, someone worth deep attention, someone to celebrate. And celebrate they did, with their annual Christmas carol event, lavish dinner parties, neighborhood cook-outs, and intimate chamber music recitals in their music room. For Nat and Nancy, community was everything.

Nat and Nancy are survived by their daughter Rachel and her husband John Golder; their son Tom and his wife Rosalind; and grandchildren Todd, Keith, Cassie, Becky, Maggie, Tom, and Arthur. Gifts in their memory may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 3445 Warrensville Center Rd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122, and The Gathering Place ( A service in their memory will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, time and date to be determined.


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