World War II pilot and longtime Anchorage resident Margaret Anne Cook died Sept. 18, 2010, at the age of 92, after a life that embraced friends, family and adventure in equal measure. Margo died at home, surrounded by family and friends.
A celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wyoming Drive.
Margo was born June 23, 1918, in San Antonio, Texas, to Dr. Ernest Dale Cook and Julia Yost Cook. Her family moved to the Los Angeles area in 1925. After graduating from Occidental College in 1939, she began her teaching career. She came to Alaska 57 years ago to work as a teacher and then counselor at Anchorage high schools until her retirement in 1982.
Always up for challenges, she also began learning to fly. As soon as the Women's Air Service Pilots (WASPs) was organized to help in the war effort, she joined. An ear injury forced her to leave the WASPs, so she joined Stinson Aircraft Corp. as a test pilot. After the war, she continued flying for Stinson and also did stunt flying for movies.
In 1953 Margo decided to come to Alaska. She worked for the Anchorage School District, taught college classes at Alaska Pacific University and continued flying in her new adopted state. She had a lifelong love of travel and, with her late friend Merritt C. (Ole) Olson, led many tours, collecting wonderful photos and souvenirs from all over the world.
She was a charter member of the Alaska 99s and was also active in the WASP, the Pioneers of Alaska, the Retired Teachers Association, the Salvation Army, APU President's Forum, PEO Chapter K, First Presbyterian Church and the Alaska Republican Party.
Margo was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Mary Elizabeth Merriam; and her fiance, Lt. John Hutchinson, killed during World War II.
She is survived by her nieces, Julie Dalrymple (Mark) and Alison Wells (John Marvin); her great-nephew, Connor Wells Marvin; her adopted sister, Leah Hoffman; and a host of friends, all of whom will miss Margo's indomitable spirit, sense of adventure, and fun.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary or the Central Alaska Retired Teachers Association Scholarship Fund. Her family is very grateful to the CareNet staff who provided excellent home care.