Betty Joan Cook nee Ridgewell was born on July 24, 1929 at Bundarra and peacefully passed away on October 10, 2020 after a long battle with illness.
Joan attended Bundarra School up until she left Bundarra in 1943 at age 14 to attend Inverell High School, with her family following soon after to live in Inverell. Upon leaving school Joan was employed by Finlens Taylors as a Coathand. Over the years Joan had kept in touch with several of her work colleagues having morning tea and lunch dates with the other ladies, catching up sometimes on birthdays as well.
Joan met Cedric Cook and they dated for a few years, marrying on September 1, 1956. They had eight children - David, Robert, Debbie, Leanne, Adrian, Katrina, Jodee and Amanda. Joan then took on the role as homemaker.
As well as caring for eight children, Joan managed the books for their electrical business, CC BJ Cook. In 1968 Joan and Cedric purchased the property "Sandy Knowe" where the family moved to in 1975.
This also increased Joan's work load, helping around the farm, and the annual cooking for the shearers and all the associated helpers, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, on the dot every day, as well as the daily milking of several cows before breakfast with the help of her niece, Judy.
Occasionally she would get the opportunity to go for a horse ride, which was her childhood passion.
Joan's love of food and cooking also gave her the ability to make a meal for unexpected visitors out of nothing, much to everyone's surprise and satisfaction.
Another one of her favourite things to do was cooking for the Holy Trinity Fete. She would cook up 50kg of sugar into caramels, fudges and sweets for the annual event, producing loads of beautiful sweet treats many people looked forward to each year.
From her eight children came 21 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren which she loved equally. Staying with grandma over school holidays saw lots of quality time spent together at the farm. Many hours were spent around the kitchen table with her little helpers, cracking eggs, sifting flour, rolling biscuits, and then reaping the benefit of licking the beaters and bowls.
Joan's recipe book has always been a very keen topic, with everyone wanting to know the ins and outs of those old favourite recipes. It's going to continue to be challenging for those left behind to now replicate her recipes, as she would often just add "a bit of this or that".
Over the last few years Joan had been dealing with serious health issues which she took in her stride. 2020 turned out to be the toughest of them all. Just as she had in the past with her fighting spirit she had overcome many hurdles. Her doctors and nurses were all amazed at her grateful attitude. While in hospital she quickly became the favourite patient, the staff telling family members she was the "perfect patient". During her hospital stays she had laughed and joked with the staff, even earning herself a cheeky hug from one of her doctors. She would always put on her happy face for visitors, hiding the constant pain she was suffering. This was her to a tee, she was forever gracious and grateful.
On October 10, 2020 at 3.59pm (one minute short of cuppa tea time) it was her time to go and be free of pain. Sadly missed, forever in our hearts.