Sunrise on Good Friday, April 15, 2022, found Nanalee Larsen Cook peacefully “walking the rainbow” to be embraced by a welcoming party of heavenly hosts celebrating her arrival.
We look forward to a glorious family reunion ahead because because of Christ’s great Easter gift to all.
Nanalee was born to Merrill and Leila Larsen in Spanish Fork, Utah, on Jan. 31, 1943. She received her elementary education degree from Brigham Young University, where a cherished roommate, christened her “Neen,” a nickname she loved.
On June 5, 1965, she was sealed for time and eternity to Mark Evan Cook in the Manti Utah Temple.
Easters gone by found the family watching The Ten Commandments and the Sound of Music (annual TV specials).
They enjoyed the movie soundtracks while driving together in our 1979 wood panel station wagon, blasting songs from the abbey from an 8-track car stereo.
Baskets of treats, always including reminders of Christ, were hidden in creative locations including the dryer, oven and fireplace.
At times when her children begged forgiveness for being a “problem like Maria” (one is almost “always late for everything”), with mercy she said, “There’s nothing to forgive.” With painful awareness of imperfections, which he constantly asked her and the Lord to forgive, Mark’s great tribute to Nanalee was honestly stated: “Any other woman would have murdered me!”
These are a few of Nanalee’s favorite things:
Our kind Heavenly Father, of whom she said: “Trust Him.”
Our older brother Jesus Christ, of whom she said: “Follow Him.”
Her family, to whom she said: “I love each of you dearly! Please love and help one another.”
Friends from all walks of life, including Moroni Elementary, where she taught for at least 100 years!
Secretary Linda Larsen called her yearly at 4 a.m. saying, “Let me be the first to wish you Happy Birthday!”
Fellow teachers and many other wonderful people cheered her with their many kindnesses, countless visits and all kinds of household help and hairdos which allowed her to stay in her home until the end.
To them, she says: “A heartfelt thank you.”
To generations of former students, she says: “Yo! Work hard, keep trying, and never give up.”
After retiring from teaching, Nanalee also served as a member of the North Sanpete Board of Education.
One former student was her pen pal of many years, sending beautiful drawings from prison, where she occasionally visited him. Of his situation she humbly said: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
To us she says: “Love and watch over those whose sins are different than your own.”
Her horses King and Patty, miniature yorkie Abby, and cat named Little Foot were cherished company for her. She loved Native American history and decor, grandchildren’s concerts, sporting events and programs were also among her very favorite things. Trips to Tulum and Iceland, as well as grandkid trips and school board trips to New Orleans and Boston were highlights.
Older grandchildren made special memories on “grandkid trips,” and she expressed wishing she could have followed through with all the younger ones.
Nanalee belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The “good news” of the gospel was her guide in life, and she served in many callings. With Mark, she served in the Manti Temple as an ordinance worker beginning in 2003 until moving to Fargo, North Dakota, for a full-time senior mission.
Together they served in three states and in the Bismarck Temple from February 2007 to August 2008. Throughout their mission, they received visits and important family support.
In addition to sharing her testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, she enjoyed volunteering at a local school with many refugee children from Africa and overseeing social events for the single young adults. Upon returning home, she again served as an ordinance worker in the Manti Temple until the COVID-related closing in 2020.
Their mission and temple friends became like family.
Children born to them are: Stephanie Leila, deceased (Scott Stevens), Ephraim; Valerie (Gerald Mills), Bountiful; Heath, deceased (Holly Allred Cook Larson), Spring City; Kevin (Angie Hansen), Mt. Pleasant; Austin (Natalie White), Moroni and Joseph (Ricci Allred), Moroni.
Grandchildren: Skyler Stevens, Sydney (Weston) Stilson, Shaylynn (Cody) Anderson, Shantel (Matt) Taylor, Anthony Mills, Michael (Emily) Mills Thomas Mills, Heather (Landon) Beutler, Nathan Mills, Ashley (Mark) Rosenlof, Quincey (Rhett) Bird, Layne (Andie) Cook, Morgan Cook and Afton Cook, Wyatt Cook , Kaylee Cook, Tynlee Cook, Hallee Cook, Porter Cook, JJ Cook (deceased), PJ Cook, Kash Cook, Madelaina Cook and Celine Cook.
Great-grandchildren: Gabriel and Luka Mills; Sophie and McKinley Stilson, Shandon, James and Addison Anderson; Gracie, MaKrae, Max and Grady Rosenlof; Kayzer and Josie Bird.
Nanalee is also survived by her brothers, Bruce and Wayne Larsen, and in-laws, Jewel Hatch, Molly Lamb, Roger, Lawrence, Tracy, Orson and Daniel Cook and their families.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the St. Joseph Indian School in South Dakota. As a family, we express our heartfelt gratitude to all who were a part of her life and wish we could include you each by name. A special thanks to all the caring healthcare providers at Moroni Clinic and Sanpete Valley Hospital who attended her passing.
A viewing will be held on Friday evening, April 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Moroni Stake Center, 82 North Center Street. On Saturday, April 23, a viewing will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with funeral services beginning at 11 and interment to follow at the Moroni Cemetery.
Online condolences and Live Zoom Link at rasmussenmortuary.com in her obituary.