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49 years is enough
It was the second day of Dr. Richard Cookes official retirement and he left his Poulsbo home at 6:30 a.m. He squeezed in a couple of early morning meetings before pulling a two-hour shift ringing the bell at Kitsap Mall in front of Macys for the Rotary Club holiday fund-raiser.
The next big thing Ive got to learn is the word no, he joked Wednesday afternoon when he finally made it back home a few minutes past 2 p.m.
After almost 50 years with the Silverdale Eyecare Center, Cooke worked his last day as an optometrist Monday but will remain active in the local Rotary Club as he has for years.
Hes a pillar in the community, said optician Lin Walker, who has worked with Cooke for 27 years. So we wanted to make sure everybody was aware and could (come) have a good time and bring us some stories.
Walker and Dr. Michael McCown, who is taking over the Silverdale practice, are planning an open house 3 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 2 at the Byron Street office to celebrate Cookes contributions for the local community.
Cooke was president of Silverdale Rotary Club in 1967 and 1968 and president of the states optometrical association the following two years. He was instrumental in bringing Bible Study Fellowship International to Silverdale. Cooke taught the mens Bible study class for about five years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when a minimum of 120 people attended each meeting.
In 1974, Cooke belonged to the founding board of directors for the Suburban State Bank of Washington, Silverdales second bank. It was established by him and 10 other local leaders such as Silverdale Realtys Ron Ross, Jennings Corporations Robert Jennings, Lee Stirrett of Stirrett-Johnsen, Inc., and Keith Bogard, owner of Bogards Drugs.
It was in Bogards store on Silverdale Way that Cooke and a classmates of his from optometry school at Pacific University in Oregon, opened their first practice in June 1956. A native of North Dakota, Cooke had plans to return to his home state to practice optometry, but his partner, Dr. Carl Alleger, was a Northwesterner and steered the decision.
I had a place all picked out in North Dakota, Cooke said. But then Dr. Alleger and I decided we wanted to try a partnership. And the only place he would live was somewhere where he could fish.
When Cookes wife at the time fell in love with the Silverdale area, the deal was sealed.
Cooke and Allegers practice was the first optometry clinic