ONEONTA - Doris Belle (Pidgeon) Cooke, 89, of West Hartford, passed away on Sept. 10, 2017, in Hartford Hospital, following a brief illness.
Born March 13, 1928, she was the youngest daughter of Sylvia I. (Decker) and Raymond Aloysius Pidgeon.
Doris was the beloved wife of Seeley B. Cooke. Together they owned Seeley's Homestead Restaurant and Hotel in Colliersville. Seeley predeceased her by 55 years with his untimely death on April 6, 1962. Widowed at 34 years old, she raised four young children alone, in often challenging financial circumstances.
Doris graduated from St. Mary's School in Oneonta, in 1944 where she was taught by the Sisters of Mercy. She often referred to St Mary's fondly as her second home. She attended Oneonta High School from 1944-48 and enjoyed being a drum majorette.
Education became important in the Cooke family. All four of her daughters graduated from college.
Before her marriage, Doris worked as an operator with the New York Telephone Company in Oneonta and Rochester.
After her husband's death, she worked in the nutrition departments of Homer Folks TB Hospital, Fox Hospital and Hartwick College in Oneonta. While at Hartwick, she fought to organize a union to improve salaries and working conditions for employees. From her 50s to mid 60s, Doris spent many happy years living with two of her daughters in her favorite city, Boston, Massachusetts, and working for the Cabot Corporation as a switchboard operator. One of her favorite pastimes was to introduce her grandchildren to Boston's museums and historical sites.
Doris is survived by two older sisters, Sylvia I. Conigliaro of Naples, Florida and Lois Whiteman of Oneonta; and also by her four daughters, Regina (and David) Englert of West Hartford, Sheila (and Phil) Goodwin of Woodville, Massachusetts, Michelle (and Robert) Atchinson of Boston, Massachusetts and Stacey Carr and (and Robert Rockwood) of North Andover, Massachusetts.
Doris was known as Nana or Gram to her seven much-loved grandchildren, Daniel Seeley Atchinson (wife Jeanna), Katherine (Atchinson) Harrington (husband, Rick), and Christine Atchinson, Matthew Vaughan, Elizabeth Vaughan, all residing in Massachusetts, and Nathaniel Englert and Jonathan Seeley Englert of West Hartford, Connecticut. Four great-grandchildren, William, Teddy, and Ainsley Harrington and Bobby Atchinson affectionately knew Doris as GG.
Time spent with family was precious to her. Doris delighted in her growing family.
Doris was very proud of her Irish heritage. A highlight of her life was a trip along the western coast of Ireland. She followed Notre Dame and Patriots football, and enjoyed reading murder mysteries. She wrote poetry, and collected books of poetry and books on subjects related to Ireland's history and culture. Doris lived for 22 years in West Hartford, Connecticut. A lover of seafood, Doris was a regular at her favorite restaurant, Max Oyster Bar in West Hartford where many staff members knew her name.
Special thanks to Christine Cosgrove, APRN, Molly Moorer, RN, and Diane Jean, RN, of the Hartford Hospital's Cardiac Infusion Center who cared for Doris over the past three years with warm wit and wisdom. Their loving concern and friendship will never be forgotten.
Courageous in life and courageous in death, Doris' family and friends will greatly miss her loving and larger-than-life presence.
Family service and burial will be on Saturday, Sept. 16 in Oneonta.
Doris had a special devotion to Saint Joseph. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her honor, to the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, http://www.csjboston.org.
Published on September 14, 2017