Benjamin Wesley "Ben" Cooke

Benjamin Wesley "Ben" Cooke

Posted in the Stafford Forum

MADDMomma

United States

#1 Apr 16, 2008
Benjamin Wesley "Ben" Cooke, 24, of Warrenton was taken suddenly from his loving family and countless friends on Thursday, April 10, 2008, at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, while proudly serving his country in the U.S. Army.

Ben was born Sept. 6, 1983, to his devoted mother, Valerie Fortney, and his father, Charles W. Cooke. Ben was a 2001 graduate of Chancellor High School and captain of the Chargers football team.

At his core, Ben was a country boy, most content on the Cooke family farm in Warrenton. Music constantly surrounded Ben, whether as a listener or a musician strumming a song on his guitar. Before joining the Army, Ben's "uniform" was most often a baseball cap and a Hawaiian shirt. His large stature belied a gentle demeanor--Ben lived his life with a fierce intensity, a uniquely human vulnerability, and always with a touch of hilarity.

Ben was loved and cherished by his entire family and countless friends, and is survived by his mother, Valerie Fortney and her husband, David, of Alexandria, and his father, Charles W. Cooke and his wife, Valerie, of Warrenton; his siblings, Megan E. Fortney, Matthew J. Fortney and Charles W. Cooke II; his grandparents, Mildred L. Cooke of Midland and Janet M. Willett Presley of Sterling; his three paternal aunts, Patsy Coffman and her husband, Dwight, Ravonda Layton and her husband, Paul, and most especially, his beloved aunt Judy and uncle Gordon Funkhouser of Midland, with whom Ben shared so many happy moments.

Ben also is survived by his four paternal cousins and his eight maternal aunts and uncles, Brenda Kerschner and her husband, Gary, Cindy Arnold and her husband, Scott, Marlene Paulus and her husband, David, Karen Roszel, Robert Watson, Deborah Prutzman and her husband, John, Todd Watson and Colleen Watson; and his 13 maternal cousins.

Ben was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Calvin W. Cooke and his wife, Mildred, and Robert R. Watson and his wife, Roz.

Family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers were touched by Ben's huge spirit, his vibrance and his laughter.

Visitation for family and friends will be held on Sunday, April 20, from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Moser Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Ave., Warrenton.

A funeral will be held at Midland Church of the Brethren, 10434 Old Carolina Road, Midland, on Monday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Benjamin Wesley Cooke Memorial Scholarship Fund at Chancellor High School. Checks should be made payable to Chancellor High School and mailed to Chancellor High School, 6300 Harrison Road, Fredericksburg, Va. 22407, Attn: Mary Ann Litton.

Our lives forever changed when Ben was born, and our lives will forever be changed by his death.

--Judy Funkhouser
a friend

Rockville, MD

#2 Apr 23, 2008
This was not written by Judy Funkhouser
This was written buy Ben Cookes cousin Kate Stein.
Aunt Marlene Cleve Ohio

Rushsylvania, OH

#3 May 2, 2008
We will miss our dearest Ben.Please contact me if you want to talk about my Sweet Sweet nephew.
The quote "Our lives forever changed when Ben was born,and our liveswill forver be changed by his death" Was said By Ben's Aunt Judy. The Obituary was written by my daughter Ben's cousin Katie Sidman Steiner.
Love To All Who knew Our Ben
Aunt Marlene Cleve Ohio

Rushsylvania, OH

#4 May 2, 2008
[email protected] / Ben's aunt Marlene
Kevin

Moscow, Russia

#5 May 4, 2008
I am currently deployed in Iraq and was a friend of Bens at the 205th. I have typed a number of things and erased them, contemplated what else to say for at least 15 minutes, and still can not place the words necessary. I, like everyone else will miss Ben and will always remember the man that made the 205th a better place and could cheer up anybody who needed a brighter day. My deepest condolences and prayers.
Bens Mom

Alexandria, VA

#6 May 16, 2008
Kevin wrote:
I am currently deployed in Iraq and was a friend of Bens at the 205th. I have typed a number of things and erased them, contemplated what else to say for at least 15 minutes, and still can not place the words necessary. I, like everyone else will miss Ben and will always remember the man that made the 205th a better place and could cheer up anybody who needed a brighter day. My deepest condolences and prayers.
Kevin, thanks for reaching out to our family during this sad time. We all miss our Big Ben terribly and appreciate hearing from his fellow soldiers and friends. I can be reached at [email protected] God Bless You. Valerie (Ben's Mom)
Bens Mom

Alexandria, VA

#7 May 16, 2008
If any friends and/or fellow soldiers of Ben would like to reach out to me, please email me at [email protected]

I would love to hear from you and I thank you for your thoughts and prayers. God Bless You.

Valerie (Ben's Mom)
Drill Sergeant Harris

United States

#8 Jul 14, 2008
Deeply saddened by your loss. I was Ben's Drill Sergeant during AIT, and I cannot even come close to describing how great a Soldier SPC Cooke was. He was among the best and will always be a great example of that. He will be missed.
Sara

Cortlandt Manor, NY

#9 Apr 10, 2010
Thinking about you and Ben today. I miss him
brooke step sister

United States

#10 Mar 27, 2011
Ben was my step brother. He was an awesome fun loving person who always made you smile. Love and missed!
saddened brother

United States

#11 Mar 30, 2011
Here nearly two years later, and deployed I think of Ben often. Like Kevin, in the days after his death, I have sat here many a time and wrote so many things only to erase them. I lost Ben at a time when I had just got him back. Me and Ben were roommates all through AIT, growing so close that I happily considered him family when no other family was there for me. We stayed close friends when I was sent to Korea after that and him to Hawaii. A year later I reunited with my brother in Hawaii. We shared great times and memories. We shared laughter, tears, sweat, and blood together. I will never forget the way Ben could make my day 100 times better with a simple patented "papa bear" hug or just a simple impersonation from a comedy movie. When I had to escort bens remains back to his mother I was terrified. Momma Dukes I love and miss you very much and thank you every day for that reception you gave me that day on your door step. It wasn’t one of anger or pain; it was the warmest, most sincerely heartfelt hug I have ever received in my life.

To this day my heart still aches from the loss of him. I wish my brother was around to see my son, I wish that my son had the privilege to meet his uncle the gentle giant. I wish for just one day that the world felt whole again.

You are always missed and never forgotten brother. Rest in peace and I WILL see you on the other side.

Love,
SSG Zachary Perrin

Since: Apr 13

United States

#12 Oct 25, 2013
I miss you so much brother. not one day goes by that I don't wish you were still here. I still have a hard time accepting that your gone and I doubt that will ever change. you were my older brother and you will always be just that. god I miss you Ben. I'm so sorry I haven't come to pay my respects but I just can't. it's been almost six years and I can't bring myself to do so. I hope one day that will change. you were always my best friend and the brother that I've always wanted. Rest in peace big bro.
Nathan H

Kansas City, MO

#14 Aug 21, 2015
I used to know Ben very well for a long time. He was one of my best friends growing up in Fredericksburg. I only today found out about this tragedy. RIP my friend. You will be missed.

Nathan H
Bens mom

Alexandria, VA

#15 Oct 29, 2015
Nathan H wrote:
I used to know Ben very well for a long time. He was one of my best friends growing up in Fredericksburg. I only today found out about this tragedy. RIP my friend. You will be missed.
Nathan H
Hi Nathan,
I did not know how to reach you to tell you about Ben. We miss him terribly, and life will never be the same without him. I hope you are doing well.~Ben's mom.

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