Food Culinary 16

Gwen Cook

January 6, 1933 ~ May 15, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Gwendolyn (Gwen) Cook, 90 and long-time resident of Caldwell, Idaho, passed away on May 15th with her best friend Debbie and dog Carmel by her side.

Gwen was born in Bruce, Wisconsin on January 6, 1933, the second of seven children to John (Jack) and Lila Scoles. Her sister Cathy, brother Jim, granddaughter Faith, and her parents predeceased her. She is survived by bothers George (Joyce), Don (Schatzee), and sister Valerie Busch. Gwen leaves behind 3 daughters: Sandy Scott, Patricia (Leon) Arriola and Barbara (David) McDermott. She will be deeply missed by her grandchildren; Bree (Ken) Ratcil, Mallory and Mackenzie McDermott, Maria Arriola, Emily Scott and by her 4 great grandchildren.
Gwen grew up on the family farm in Bruce Wisconsin and graduated with an Associates Degree in Nursing from The Northwester Hospital and School of Nursing. After graduating, she married her brother Lloyd’s Army Special Forces friend George Smedley. They moved to Corvallis, Oregon so George could complete his education. While in Corvallis Gwen worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in the maternity ward and they completed the family with the birth of three daughters.
After George graduated from Oregon State, the family moved to Caldwell, Idaho. Gwen began a 34-year career at Caldwell Memorial/West Valley Medical Center. Gwen started as a RN but moved quickly to charge nurse then Head Nurse. Her ability to train others, her care for patients, and her loyalty to all she worked with earned the respect of both her peers and managers.
Gwen ended her career as the head of Home Health and Hospice. When Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) purchased Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Gwen attended a meeting for all the home health department managers in charge of all HCA Hospitals. They were asked to introduce themselves in the order of the size of the program. Gwen was third to be introduced. Not only the only female, she was also the only person in the room with an Associates Degree. Everyone else had a master’s degree. A short time after, a male with a master’s degree was hired to take over the program in Caldwell. In less than 6 months, he was gone, and Gwen was put back in charge. HCA realized Gwen was a force and more than capable of doing the job. She broke the glass ceiling and proved what she had told her daughters all along; you can do whatever you set your mind to and work hard for.

Her co-workers understood Gwen was dedicated to them, to her duties to the hospital and to the patients. Their love for was demonstrated one day when Gwen’s daughter Barb called the hospital to say she could not get hold of Gwen and was worried. The whole staff left and drove to Gwen’s house to check on her. When they found Gwen’s house empty, they returned to work to find Gwen at her desk. Gwen had arrived, on time, to an empty office. It turned out Gwen was simply getting her hair cut!

George and Gwen divorced, and Gwen married Bernard (Bernie) Cook. Bernie and Gwen enjoyed camping, walks on the beaches of Oregon and Hawaii and spending time with Grandkids. Unfortunately, Bernie passed away in 1995.
Gwen spent many years with her companion, Gordon McDermott. Gordon, daughter Barb’s Father-in-law, and Gwen enjoyed spending time at the McDermott Family Cabin in McCall, debating who grew the best and most tomatoes and who had caught the biggest fish.
Gwen liked to be busy, taking care of her back yard with a water fall and Koi Pond. She was fiercely stubborn. The trait both frustrated and amused those who loved her. She enjoyed a good meal, a glass of wine, and could play a mean game of cards.
We, her loving family and friends, return to her all of the love that she has showered on us, knowing that it will support and ease her to her next grand adventure. Her quiet strength as well as her love of family and nature will live on through her family and the lives of those who knew her well.
A special thank you to West Valley Medical Center, who 11 years ago found Aging Gracefully for mom. Daniela Retegan and staff took great care of Gwen. When Aging Gracefully sold to BeeWell the family was worried. The staff of BeeWell have been wonderfully supportive. We could not have asked for better care. To all who looked after Gwen and her BeeWell fellow residence, know that your compassion, kindness, interest in her welfare, humor and honor in your care of her were very special gifts to us, the family.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14
A graveside service will be held at 2:00 on Thursday May 18th at Canyon Hill Cemetery, Caldwell. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Idaho Humane Society to celebrate all the dogs Gwen loved. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

Come to me, all who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Matthew 11:28

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gwen Cook, please visit our floral store.


May 18, 2023

2:00 PM
Canyon Hill Cemetery
2040 No. Illinois
Caldwell, ID 83605


Canyon Hill


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