Friends for Life
John Cooke ’56 and a group of friends once took a pair of pants belonging to a classmate and ran them up the flagpole. Why? “He beat us by a few points on a biology test,” Cooke laughs. He and his fellow troublemakers from the Class of ’56 still kid each other about it.
Cooke and his wife, Merilyn Anderson Cooke ’56, now live near Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and their classmates from the mid-1950s have scattered across the country. But the couple keeps in touch with a sizeable crowd from those years, including Ron Johnson ’56 and Cynthia Johnson, Tom Tavener ’56 and Jean Carper Tavener ’56, George Fisher ’57 and Shirley Egger Fisher ’56, Gordon Fee ’56 and Maudine Lofdahl Fee ‘56, Robert Riggs ’56 and Virginia Hansen Riggs ’56, Wes Morgan ’56 and Carol Morgan, Ken Howerton ’56 and Peggy Frank Howerton ’53, Rod Miller ’56 and Barbara Miller, and Jerome Kenagy ’56 and Donna Schneiter Kenagy ’59. To name a few.
What has kept this community so connected? “We had a lot in common,” says John Cooke. “For one thing, we were all poor. We came out of the World War II years and started school at Seattle Pacific in ’52. We were all working to get through, getting a whole 75 cents an hour working on campus. I worked in property maintenance, cleaning shower drains and replacing switches.”
Today, they get together whenever they can. “Any excuse that works,” says Cooke. In 2001 and 2006, many of the friends assembled at the Kenagys’ “cabin” on North Ten Mile Lake in Oregon. “We even had Sunday morning services together,” says Jerome Kenagy. “Gordon Fee is a very inspirational guy. He really knows his Scriptures.”
Says Donna Kenagy, “The benefits of these friendships and get-togethers to Jerome and me are incalculable, mountaintop experiences.”
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