Rick Cooke


5440 Sandstone Court
Cumming, GA. 30040
Home: 770-844-5882
Cell: 678-332-8506


What song most reminds you of your school days?
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
What teacher most influenced you?  
Minnie Lee Morgan
Which reunions have you attended?
Which did you enjoy most? 


Fondest memories of your days at Central:
The friends, the building, ROTC, football, the friends.

My life since graduation:  —Abbreviated Version
           On graduation I left for Harvard, not knowing what it would be like to compete with others who all were at the top of their class.  I was overwhelmed and left after two years, coming back to Chattanooga.  With my Central Digest experience I was able to get a job on the Chattanooga News-Free Press and worked along side Floyd Keith.  I also sang in a folk-singing group with Bob Gaston.  After a year I went back to Harvard and graduated in 1967, just in time for Viet Nam.  Fortunately I was in Army ROTC and came in as a military police officer, although I never served in an MP position.  While at Ft. Gordon, GA., where I served for my entire two years, I met my wife, Hannah.  We were married in 1968.

            My first job was as a communications specialist for the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta.  Five years later I began a career in the insurance industry with New York Life.  Later I became a regional marketing manager for a life and property casualty insurance company and took a job transfer to Manassas, Virginia, where we have lived for the past twenty-two years.  Ten years ago I opened a local insurance agency for Allstate.

            We lost our oldest daughter, Lucy, to leukemia two years after graduating from James Madison University.  Our family faced some dark days during her two-year fight, bone marrow transplant, and ultimate death.  Only our church and church friends saved us from self-pity and turning away from God.

            Our other daughter, Laurie, graduated from Clemson, and now lives in Alpharetta GA., with her husband, Dwayne, whom she met in a freshman calculus class, and their two children.  As most of you have found, grandparenthood is great, causing normally intelligent and mature adults to be absolutely stupid around small children of their descent.

            Two years ago I sold my insurance agency and began working part time for my church as Director of Lay Ministry and director of a food ministry.  In my spare time I write and teach some insurance license courses.  Hannah commutes into Washington DC where she works for the National Retail Federation, a trade association.  She will be able to join me in semi-retirement in a few years.  We enjoy traveling to see the grandchildren, skiing, and getting together with my college roommates, their families, and Central friends, with whom we meet every two years.  I took up fly fishing a couple of years ago.  It was cheaper than golf.  There are no greens fees on the rivers in the Shenandoah Valley.

            I’ll throw out some memories:  ROTC, and sponsors—thank you Dottie.  Girls in club uniforms around the rotunda.  The lunch room.  Mr. Hoodenpyle.  Mrs. Haskins.  W. Hobart Millsaps (there was a guy with class.)  Football—games and practices.  Basketball games.  The Digest and The Champion.  So many more memories! 

I make an annual fishing trip with Aaron Masters who lives in Pascagoula MS.  We take his boat and run into the bayous and Pascagoula River and occasionally into the Gulf.  We haven’t caught many fish but enjoy talking about old times at Central.  He remembers a lot of things that I have forgotten, or remembers things differently than what I do.  Or he lies.

UPDATE 3/25/2012
After 28 years in Manassas, VA we moved to Cumming in 2007 to be near grandchildren. The three of them live about one mile away. After selling my insurance agency in 2001 I worked for my church in Manassas as a coordinator of volunteers and kitchen manager. When we moved to Cumming I again managed our church kitchen as well as a food bank that we operate. We enjoy traveling in Europe--our niece has a villa in Italy. Our deal with her is that if we fill her villa with paying guests we get to stay for free! We are in contact with and meet yearly with several classmates from Eastdale and east of the ridge.