Diana Renee Rhodes Cook

Diana Rhodes Cook - Phoenix, NY - Rochester Cremation

Diana Renee Rhodes Cook, of Phoenix, NY, passed away in Rochester, NY, on January 21 at the age of 62, with family by her side after a period of declining health.

Diana was born in New Hartford, NY, on December 29, 1959, and lovingly raised by her parents, Robert and Barbara Rhodes. She was an “Air Force Brat” and grew up all over, eventually graduating from Willingboro High School in New Jersey, where she was a passionate participant in the drama program and a gifted and engaged student.

Diana studied at a few different educational institutions and eventually made her home in young adulthood in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area. There, she met some of her lifelong best friends and her husband, Stephen ‘Steve’ Cook.

Diana and Steve were married on November 24, 1984, in the central New York area after relocating there together. They welcomed several children and Diana soon began actively volunteering with school events as she became involved in their education.

Diana was an extremely talented writer and wrote for many years as a trusted voice on the Phoenix Register and the Oswego County Weeklies. She also helped found Omniquest Information Arts with her husband in Minnesota when the family briefly relocated there for a few years. Outside of her professional writing, she also kept up with personal journaling and blogging.

Diana was a strong advocate for kids with special needs, primarily in the area of Autism spectrum disorder, and was a policy guru and champion for students’ special education rights. She also volunteered much of her time with groups like the Phoenix Chorus and Drama Boosters (she was known lovingly as a “Drama Mama”), and other programs that supported the students of the Phoenix Central School District.

Diana was eventually elected to the Board of Education, which she served on for 18 years before her passing. She also sat on many scholarship committees and was a strong supporter of community groups like the Bridge House Brats and Erin’s Angels.

Diana had a beautiful voice and was previously a member of The Spirit of Syracuse, as part of Sweet Adelines International, and was often part of the St. Stephen’s Christmas Eve mass in Phoenix as well. Music was a huge part of her life and she was a big fan of musicals like Sound of Music and West Side Story, which were played for her during her final days alongside classic rock.

Diana’s love for and interest in animals, music, dancing, doing crafts, campfires, discussing political and social issues, and writing, and her devotion to her friends and family will not be forgotten.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 37 years, Steve Cook, and her five children: Amber Cook, Brittany Cook, and Chad Cook of Phoenix, NY, Jocelyn ‘Josie’ Rhodes Cook of Brooklyn, NY, and Jonathan ‘Jon’ Hewett and his wife, Christa Hewett, of Mobile. Alabama. Surviving as well are her siblings Paula Rhodes of Georgia, Michael Rhodes and Dawn (Rosario) Rhodes of Westville, New Jersey and their kids Rushton and Gavin, and Danielle Rhodes of Lumberton, New Jersey. She is also survived by her cherished grandchildren Anya, Skylar, and Coryn of Mobile, Alabama, and numerous cousins and other loved ones that are too many to name.

A memorial will be held in Phoenix, NY at a later date in the spring or summer, and a smaller event is planned in the Virginia Beach area in warmer months as well.

The Cook family and Diana’s countless loved ones would like to express their gratitude for the community of friends and family who provided unwavering support in her final days, and for the support and care of the staff of the University of Rochester Medicine Palliative Care Divison at Strong Memorial Hospital.

In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged in her memory to the following organizations: Friends Forever Animal Rescue of Pennellville, NY or any animal rescue, the Phoenix Chorus and Drama Boosters, Erin’s Angels of Phoenix, NY, and Camp Talooli of Pennellville, NY, or any organization loved ones believe would speak to her and her ideals.

10 Condolences

  1. Ellen (Hagler)Kaminer-Gigger on February 4, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    I will always remember Diana as a shining star. It was my privilege to be part of her musical family tree; she was my student at Willingboro H.S.
    May her memory be a blessing to those who loved her.

  2. Linda Coon on February 4, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    So very sorry, Diana was a wonderful woman. She will be missed.

  3. Tammy Marko on February 4, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    We will all miss you Diana, you were such a wonderful person. Blessings to your entire family whom you adored ❤️

  4. Marti Macy on February 4, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    God Bless, I hold many fond memories of old times here in Va.Bch with the band, Robbin Thompson & of course “Econo-Travel” Reservation office where God connected all of us. Those were the days, youth that lived on forever…. you will be missed by many.

    • Peggy Cantello on February 4, 2022 at 5:24 pm

      Loving memories of Diana and her family back in their Bankrupt Road days. A beautiful soul inside and out. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this most difficult time.

  5. Ellie Mahaney on February 4, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    This was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person. I’ll always have sweet memories of Diana. My deepest sympathy to her family and friends.
    Dan and Ellie Mahaney

  6. Becky Badman on February 4, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Diana was always so supportive of every child in our district and she advocated in the best way for children’s needs. I appreciated her as a community member, board member, mom of my students and friend. Phoenix has lost a light and I’m so sorry for this terrible loss, but I am so glad I had the opportunity to know and enjoy her wonderful being…my heart is with her family and friends.
    Becky Badman

  7. John J Halstead on February 4, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    The impressions of her footsteps on this earth will live on forever. She was such a kind and beautiful person. I am glad to have been able to call her a friend.

    John Halstead

  8. Anonymous on February 6, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    I only met you very briefly, but your warmth and kindness left an impact during a very confusing time for me. Thank you so much–you will be missed, even by those you only spent a moment with.

  9. Susan K. Longo on February 8, 2022 at 7:54 am

    Diana was always there to bring good news from JCB to the public! I’ll never forget the full-page article she did on an assignment that I had given to one of my economics’ classes. The article came at a very low point in my life and really gave me a tremendous boost! Her involvement with her children and their activities within the school were examples of “good parenting!” I have fond memories of Diana’s “children” and their “antics” senior year. My memories of the Cook family are definitely happy ones! My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you. My heartfelt sympathies go out to all of Diana’s family. Sincerely, Susan K. Longo.

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