A LIFE WELL LIVED – MARY RUTH (COOKIE) WIEBE (1954 – 2011)
Cookie Wiebe, 57, life partner of husband, David Wiebe, died Monday morning, October 31, 2011. She was born in Newton on February 1, 1954 the youngest child of Alfred G. and Clara Voth. She graduated from Newton High School in 1972 and Bethel College in 1976. After marrying David in 1978 and starting a family, Cookie chose to be a stay-at-home mom rather than starting on a career path. During this time Cookie did some part-time and lots of volunteer work. From 1989 – 1992, Cookie and her family served with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) doing community development in Chad, Africa. Returning to Newton, Cookie continued to work with MCC as workroom supervisor which inspired her later interest in human resource development (HRD). From 1995-1999, Cookie and David, worked at Woodstock School in India. One of Cookie’s roles was new staff coordinator which furthered her interest in HRD. Upon returning from India, Cookie attended Friends University earning a Masters Degree in HRD. Cookie used her skills and knowledge in several jobs including another MCC term in N. Newton as HR director, wellness coordinator for Harvey county, and most recently interim HR manager at Woodstock School. It was there a bit more than one year ago, that Cookie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which would ultimately be terminal.
Married 33 1/3 years, Cookie and Dave demonstrated their strong faith and firm commitment to whole life stewardship. For their 25th anniversary, Cookie and Dave purchased a tandem bike. They participated in several BAK rides and two longer fund-raising trips to Mennonite Conventions in N. Carolina and California. Given Cookie’s propensity to document everything, either photographically or journalistically, this past year she has inspired many with her blogs (www.charitableliving.net) about her disease and life convictions and by sharing her fabulous photos taken on daily walks along Sand Creek bike path. In her bucket list of things to do before she died, Cookie included two things, an art gallery photography showing of her portraits taken of regular people in India with whom she and Dave came into contact and to see the birth of their first grandson. Both of these wishes were graciously granted. In life, Cookie was an excellent teacher and public speaker, passionate about many things such as helping people overcome poverty and injustice, and interested in great ideas and meaningful discussions. She loved movies especially foreign films with subtitles. She sought to live life intentionally, with no regrets.
She will be especially missed in this life by husband, David of Newton, daughter Abra (husband Phil Staffin) and new grandson Cassius Staffin-Wiebe of Minnesota, brother John (wife Colleen) of Derby, sister Birdie (husband Tim Vander Molen) of Illinois, nieces Amy Voth, Jane Vander Molen and nephews David Voth and Tim Vander Molen Jr. Cookie was preceded in death by daughter, Bethany Ann Wiebe, and her parents. Cookie and Dave also belonged to an extraordinary Sunday School Class at First Mennonite in Newton, where they journeyed together with others in their faith. Cookie will be sorely missed by this group of wonderful friends and sojourners in life.