Civic booster Dorothy Cook dies

Community By Linda Trischitta, Editor Wednesday, January 18, 2023

     Miami Lakers mourned the passing of Dorothy Cook, who was 89 when she died Dec. 27 at a memory care facility in Sarasota.

     Many longtime Miami Lakes residents knew Cook, who spent her adult life contributing to the culture and civic affairs of the town. 

     Cook was born in Bayonne, NJ. She moved with her husband Leo B. Cook, a stockbroker, to Miami Beach in the early 1960s.  The couple settled in town in 1971, and raised three children.

     “I grew up with a mom who spent her life volunteering and I thought that was how everybody’s mom lived,” said Dana C. Westmark of Sarasota who recalled marching in town Veterans Parades, one of her mother’s many causes. 

     “I was fortunate to grow up with parents who really believed in community and dedicated their lives to volunteering in the community,” she said.

     Former Miami Lakes Mayor Wayne Slaton said of Cook, “She was a colleague, mentor, role model and friend whom I will dearly miss, but will cherish life-long memories.”

     Among Cook’s accomplishments, recounted in part by Slaton: 

--As a member of Friends of the Library, she supported the effort to get the county to open a branch in town.

--Led the Miami Lakes Garden Club from 1978-80 and helped install the town’s first welcome sign.

--Was a member of the Miami Lakes Women’s Club.

--With resident Carmel Creach, liaised with the Florida Cystic Fibrosis organization and social and service groups.

--During 27 years with the Miami Lakes Civic Association, she held various offices on the board and served on association committees for the community phone directory, parks, schools and the Veterans Parade. 

--From 1996-2000, she was part of the Miami Lakes incorporation movement.

--After incorporation, the county commission appointed Cook to the Miami Lakes Charter Committee.

--The town council unanimously approved her brief appointment to that body to fulfill the term of Peter Thompson in 2006 after he moved away. She pledged to not run for the seat afterward, Slaton said.

--Cook served on the county Planning Advisory Board in 2005.

--She volunteered with the town’s Cultural Affairs Committee.

--The Zonta Club of Miami Lakes awarded its Community Service Award to her in 2012.

--Mayor Manny Cid gave Cook the Key to the Town in 2019, in recognition of her decades of volunteerism and leadership. 

“I enjoy doing this because it’s my life,” Cook said at the time. “This is a blessing.”

--Also that year, Cook received the Town of Miami Lakes Women of Distinction Award in the community and civic affairs category.

     Dottie Wix, who chairs the town’s Elderly Affairs Committee, said of her friend from the Garden Club, “she was a beautiful lady. She was kind, she was helpful and she was there for anybody that needed help.”

     Carol Graham Wyllie, whose father William A. Graham developed the town from the family’s dairy farm, praised Cook as a “truly special woman” who “loved Miami Lakes and was willing to contribute countless hours to help make it the wonderful community that it is.

     “Dot volunteered, not for recognition, but because she enjoyed working with people and having the opportunity to help improve the quality of life in Miami Lakes,” Wyllie said, calling her friend “a lovely person.

     “You never knew if she was having a bad day, because she had such a positive attitude, charm, a beautiful smile, and she was a dear friend to so many,” Wyllie said. 

     “She was a classy lady who was loved and admired by everyone,” she said.

      Cook’s son Kevin Maxwell predeceased her in 2012. In addition to her husband of 61 years and her daughter, Cook’s survivors include son-in-law Michael Westmark of Sarasota; son Scott P. Maxwell of North Miami; former daughter-in-law Maritza Trimble and her husband Craig Trimble of Miami Lakes; granddaughter Danielle Maxwell Sanchez and husband John C. Sanchez of Miami; granddaughter Lauren Maxwell Fernandez and husband John Fernandez; great-grandson Matias Zachariah Fernandez of Raleigh, NC; brother Joseph P. Greeves and wife Anne Greeves of St. Augustine, and many nieces and nephews.

     A funeral Mass will be held Feb. 25 at noon at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church, 15801 NW 67th Ave. in Miami Lakes.   

     Burial will be private.

     The family asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners donate to a charity.