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Democrat Photo by John Emerson

STATELY PROCESSION: An antique Monticello Fire Department truck and the hearse bearing Judge Lawrence H. Cooke’s body proceed down Broadway in Monticello following Judge Cooke’s funeral at St. Peter’s RC Church. The beloved county citizen was buried in Rock Ridge Cemetery shortly thereafter.

County Mourns At
Judge Cooke's Funeral

By John Emerson
MONTICELLO — August 25, 2000 – The loss was felt by everyone who crammed their way into St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Monticello Monday for Judge Lawrence H. Cooke’s funeral service.
A great man was going to his final resting place.
In the street outside the church, those who could not find room inside, or who simply were not inclined to intrude but wanted to pay their respects, waited for the service to end. The county had lost a true son and hero.
“He served the state brilliantly to the very last minute,” said Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye during her eulogy. “But to speak only from the record books would ignore the amazing warmth he always displayed. Larry believed in and liked people. His mission was to treat everyone equally. Always, he took the high road.”
Kaye, herself a Monticello native who served with Cooke on the state’s highest court before his retirement, listed his accomplishments as a jurist and friend. She spoke of his warmth and vision and strength in fighting for court reform. She spoke of his work ethic – “his work day began at 4 a.m., I am told. I don’t have firsthand knowledge of that” – and commitment to the law and justice.
It was, however, Cooke’s grandson, attorney Lawrence Henry Cooke II, who completed the picture of the man they would all miss and remember.
“My parents gave me a great gift,” he said. “They named me after my grandfather.”
Cooke’s recollections of his grandfather, to him always “Poppa,” gave those gathered to pay tribute to a legal giant and Sullivan County’s most famous citizen a 12-year-old boy’s retrospective view of a simple, loving grandparent.
“We had a game that we called ‘last touch’,” he said. “Poppa, who was never viewed as an athlete, would run through the house like a teenager chasing a 12-year-old boy to impart the last touch.”
Cooke also recalled the role his grandfather played as a teacher to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. For the most part, though, the thing he remembered the most was “the unequivocal love that he showed us.”
The Judge was laid to rest in the Cooke family plot at Rock Ridge Cemetery near those who were always his heroes.
And he got in the “last touch” for all who ever knew him, for he will always be remembered.

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