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Zellen Nell Cook

April 1, 1923 — May 27, 2024

Cass City

ZELLEN NELL COOK

     Zellen “Tommie” Nell Cook, 101, of Cass City passed away Monday, May 27, 2024 in her home in Tuscola County.  Tommie was born April 1, 1923 in Gainesville, Texas, the second daughter born to Clifford and Marie (Ringgold) Ford.

     In her late teens, Tommie worked for a Gainesville, Texas dry cleaning business.  It was there where she met Earnest Cook who was stationed at U.S. Army base, Camp Howz.  Earnest, traveling on a bus through Gainesville, spotted her through the store window and ordered the bus to stop so he may enter the store to meet her.  A short time later in 1946, upon Earnest being discharged from the US Army, Earnest and Tommie relocated from Texas to Michigan.  They purchased a 160-acre farm northwest of Cass City to raise dairy cattle.  Together on the farm Earnest and Tommie raised two sons, Gene and Mike, and one daughter, Sharon Kay.  

     Tommie took a job at Walbro Corporation planning only to work one summer and retired as a QA inspector over thirty years later.  She lived her remaining years on the farm and fondly enjoyed her role as grandma, great-grandma and later great-great-grandma.

     Tommie grew sunflowers, peonies, and yellow roses year after year.  She enjoyed planting a large garden and preserving its’ produce by freezing and canning.  Tommie was a wonderful chef preparing meals and baked goods from scratch.  Weekly, her family would all gather for a meal where Tommie served farm raised meats and vegetables, as well as pecan pies, chocolate cake, cookies, and southern white fruit cake.  Tommie grew strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb and happily picked them in the summer evenings.  

      She loved to read and sew but found her greatest happiness was having her grandchildren and great-grandchildren stay at the farm.  Tommie will forever be remembered for her kindness and generosity as well as the great love she had for her family.

     Tommie is survived by her children: Sharon (Lee) Ackerman of Spaulding, Michael Cook of Vassar; grandchildren: Scott (Cindy) Cook, Debra Cook, Paul Cook all of Cass City; Laurie Cook of Caro, Kathy Cook of Mequon, WI; Heidi White of Fountain Inn, SC; great-grandchildren: Amber Heckroth of Caro, Bryan Buschlen of Elkton, Nicholas Cook of Cass City, Kolton Cook, Seth Cook, Natalie White all of Fountain Inn, SC; Dakota (Ethan Sizemore) Cook of Saginaw, Hunter McGrath of Hopkinsville, KY; Kylie McGrath of Cass City, Ricci Keely, Jacci Keely of Mequon, WI; great-great-grandchildren:  London, Huntleigh, Alayna.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Earnest; son, Gene Cook; daughter-in-law, Gloria Cook; sisters:  Helen Raikin, Beverly Wade; twin brothers: Tillman Ford, William Ford; several brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles and cousins.

     Private family graveside service will be in Elkland Township Cemetery with Pastor Jeremy Woodall of Cass City Missionary Church officiating. A special thank you to Tommie’s grandsons and great-grandsons for acting as pallbearers:  Scott Cook, Paul Cook, Bryan Buschlen, Nicholas Cook, Hunter McGrath, Seth Cook.

 Arrangements by Kranz Funeral Home, Cass City

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