March 7, 2012 10:56:09 AM
Former longtime Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Miriam Cook, 82, died at her home Monday.
Cook worked in the office of the county sheriff and in the clerk's offices of both the Chancery and Circuit courts. In 1976, she was elected as the Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk, an office she held for 20 years.
"I never got the opportunity to work with Mrs. Cook," said Oktibbeha County Administrator Don Posey. "I started the year after she retired. I knew her for many years; she was a fine woman. She left a great legacy. I think the circuit clerk's office was in good shape when she retired."
Current Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Glenn Hamilton also praised Cook's legacy.
"I believe she was the first circuit clerk I can recall," Hamilton said. "She was deeply revered by everyone that knew her. The job, as clerk, was hers as long as she wanted it. She saw a lot of changes, in the office and in voting, during her term. She was a great person."
She was succeeded in office by Angie McGinnis, who said Cook was her "friend and mentor."
"I worked with her for six-and-a-half years," McGinnis said. "She was my boss, my friend and a mentor. I was so fortunate to have learned under her. When I decided to run for office, she was very encouraging to me -- she even worked a couple of years with me after she retired. She was like family to me. I certainly enjoyed her. She will be missed by the community."
Cook was born on July 8, 1929. A lifelong resident of Oktibbeha County, she grew up in the Osborn community and graduated from Starkville High School. Before being elected Circuit Clerk, Cook worked for the Starkville Daily News and in several government departments.
Cook is survived by Thomas D. Cook, her husband of almost 65 years; a daughter and son-in-law, Sherry and Ralph Thornton of Cordova, Tenn.; a son, Thomas D. Cook, Jr. of Starkville and Memphis, Tenn.; and a son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Marguerite Cook of Starkville. She also is survived by her four grandchildren -- Kate Thornton, of Los Angeles, Calif., Will Thornton, of Memphis, Hillary Cook, of Flowood, and Neely Cook, of Starkville. She was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Neely C. Malone, and her brother Robert N. Malone.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Starkville. Visitation will be held at the church from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Burial, at Starkville Memorial Gardens, will follow the service.
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