FAMILY TREES: Saplings planted in memory of Newton Village residents

·3 min read

Jun. 30—When residents of Newton Village walk past a pair of saplings on the southeast end of the property, Carolyn Cook hopes they think of her mom and dad.

"And I hope they smile, I hope they laugh," Carolyn said Wednesday, June 23 after a tree dedication ceremony for her father Arnold Cook and mother Mary Cook. "I hope they have a good memory. I hope (others) are inspired to maybe plant some trees themselves."

Similar trees were also planted at the Clarion Public Library, she added.

"My folks were voracious readers and loved nature and went on lots of picnics as children growing up and just did a lot of outdoor stuff," Carolyn told Newton News. "We like trees. We like shade. I hate to see any tree cut down. It's an investment for the future. They would definitely approve."

To honor their memory, the children of Arnold and Mary Cook — Carolyn, Matt, Marnie and Janet — arranged for trees to be planted at Newton Village, where the couple stayed until 2017 and 2020, respectively. One tree was a maple while the other was littleleaf linden.

The friends the Cooks made at the local senior living community attended the tree dedication. They did just as Carolyn hoped they would do: share memories.

Angela Adam, executive director of Newton Village, said Mary happened to be her dad's neighbor. She remembered Mary's dry sense of humor, her warmth, her wisdom and her beauty. Adam said Mary was full of sophistication and grace. Matt said the dry sense of humor was certainly prevalent in his father as well.

"The phone would ring and Dad would answer the phone and they would say, 'Is Mary handy?' And Dad was would say, 'Usually,'" Matt said with a laugh.

Carolyn recalled the rich history her parents had and their travels, one of which was a two-and-a-half year stint with the Peace Corps at Orotina, Costa Rica. To listen to her mom's stories was a blessing, Carolyn said. They were also quite gifted in Spanish, as one Newton Village resident noted.

"You would take your mom out for La Cabaña and she would talk to them and they were so surprised!" the resident said.

Matt recalled when he would come back home to visit his parents in Clarion. One time his dad was helping translate at the local jail while mom would be working at the hospital. Matt loved to joking to his friends when he returned back from Iowa that his mom was in the hospital and his dad was in jail.

Carolyn remembered the story of how her parents first met. It was near the end of World War II. Mary was in college at the time, and because of the war there weren't many men on campus. In the fall, she saw Arnold walking into the Spanish class. The teacher recognized him and they started conversing.

"So shortly after that, her story is she was ... in the library and she saw Dad across the way there," Carolyn said. "And she got 'something in her eye.' And she went to him to have him help her get it out of her eye."

Matt said, "I could so see her doing that. 'Oh this'll work! I'll try this!'"

"Try the ol' thing-in-the-eye trick," Carolyn added.

Carolyn said her parents "really enjoyed their time" at Newton Village and talked about how friendly everyone was and how everybody was so helpful. It left a positive impression on the couple, who had lived in their hometown of Clarion for 50 years. It was a difficult decision to make the transition to senior living.

Matt said, "They both enjoyed being here. They loved the company."

Carolyn told attendees, "Thank you for your friendship to them and to us. We've loved meeting all of you and getting to know you."

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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