Obituary of Claire Cook
On “World Down Syndrome Day” (March 21, 2017), a commemoration close to her heart, Claire Flore (Laubenthal) Cook passed away at home with family surrounding her. She was 94. Surviving her are son Donald and daughters Claudia (James) Markwald, Christine Cook (Lynn Ward), Marsene Phillips, Maureen (Michael) Wartko, Joanne Cook and Joyce Cook, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Preceding Claire in death were husband Donald Richard Cook, daughter Janice Ann, grandson Robert Markwald, and son-in-law Frank Phillips.
Claire was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and she lived most of her life in Akron. After graduating from South High School, she worked in the executive offices of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company where she also proudly sold War Bonds. Upon the birth of her first of eight children, Claire devoted herself to raising her family. She volunteered and led many activities to support their schools until her eighth child was born with Down Syndrome.
Claire then tirelessly volunteered with Don to begin and enhance community programs for people with developmental disabilities. She was a past president of the ARC of Summit & Portage Counties, a co-founder of Blick Center for persons with developmental disabilities and a leader in community awareness programs. Claire’s passions and loves were her advocacy work, her family, the Cavs (LeBron!), Cleveland Indians, her flowers, and ensuring that all who visited had plenty to eat.
Her family deeply appreciates devoted caregivers Gwen Shriver Lane, Linda Kelley, Member Williams and Wendy Brown, Gayleen Kolaczewski M.D. and staff, and Summa Hospice, especially nurse Shavonne Schuman. At Claire’s request there will be a private family service. Should friends wish to make memorial contributions, please consider: United Disability Services – 701 S. Main St. – Akron, OH 44311 or Blick Center – 640 W. Market St. – Akron, OH 44303 or Arc Ohio Summit & Portage Counties – 3869 Darrow Rd. – Suite 109 – Stow, OH 44224.