Benjamin W. Cooke
USAMama

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

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