Obituaries

Betty F. Cooke -

Betty F. Cooke, 86, retired pharmacist, passed away at NHC Health Center Sunday, October 20, 2013.

She was currently a resident at the Appalachian Christian Village Towers, and was a former resident of Mountain City, TN. Betty and her twin sister, Shirley, were born in their grandmother’s home on Campbell Station Road in Concord, TN on April 6, 1927, to Reba Cruse and Luther Blaine Foster.

The family lived in the Kemmerer Gem coal camp in St. Charles, Virginia until the twins were juniors in high school, when the family moved near Knoxville. Betty and Shirley graduated from Karnes High School, Knoxville a year early. Twins do have their own language. Betty and Shirley addressed each other as “Le Shuh” and Le Buh.”

Their mother dressed them alike, they did things together, and they even planned to go to college together to become librarians. “We thought that would be a nice, quiet occupation,” Shirley recalled, and she and Betty wanted to take up those studies back in Virginia. But their mother had another plan: Attend the University of Tennessee, right there in Knoxville. They did start at UT-Knoxville, but the two of them scoured the university catalog for something that would get them out of Knoxville and away from their parents who were nice, but somewhat strict. The twins enrolled in pharmacy, so they could transfer to the University of Tennessee at Memphis. Little did they know that pharmacy was the hardest course they could take outside of medicine. When they graduated from pharmacy school, Shirley was the valedictorian and Betty was the salutatorian.

Betty married Carter Gale Cooke, a dental student, in 1948. After graduating from dental school they moved to Elizabethton, where they lived until they moved to Mountain City in 1955. There, she worked as a part time pharmacist for Courtesy Drug Store and Family Prescription.

She was a member of First Baptist Church, Mountain City, where she was the organist for 50 years

She was also a member of the Wednesday Music Club.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Carter Gale Cooke, her sister, Shirley Rogahn, her daughter, Melanie Cooke Smith Hartley, and her nephew, Mark Rogahn. Survivors include her daughters, Glenda Cooke Gray (Carroll), Johnson City, and Barbara Cooke Shelton, New Market, TN; grandchildren, Bradley Foster Smith, Washington, DC, Courtney Smith, Nashville, TN, and RebaAnn Gray, Chico, CA; nieces Jan Massey, Susan Webb, Kathie Smith; and nephews Kurt Rogahn and Jerry Cooke.

There is a funeral service scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the First Baptist Church in Mountain City at 11:30 am, under the direction of Rev. Ricky Campbell.  The family will receive friends from 10:30 am until time of service at 11:30 am.  A committal service will follow in the Sunset Memorial Park. 

A visitation will be also held at Morris - Baker Funeral Home on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. 

Online condolences are available at: www.morrisbaker.com.  In charge of arrangements: Morris - Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37601 or (423) 282-1521.