Surrounded by family, Maylon Perry Cooke of Rolesville passed away peacefully a few days shy of his 91st birthday. Born November 26, 1929 in the Sandy Creek Township of Franklin County, Maylon was the son of V. Perry and Glennie L. Cooke. Dubbed a “tough ol’ bird” by his children due to his years of battling first colitis, then heart attacks and finally CLL, he attributed his long life to being a hardworking man from good farm stock, his years of clean living, and most of all, to his strong desire to stay alive long enough to “take care of your mama,” his beloved wife of 70 years, Dorothy F. Cooke.
Maylon was born, raised and worked alongside his father on farms, first in Sandy Creek and then later in the Maple Springs area of Louisburg. He graduated 2nd in his class from Mills High School in 1947. He was enrolled at NC State to study Agricultural Engineering, but a disappointing tobacco yield that year forced him to withdraw and forego college. In late 1948, a cousin introduced him to Dorothy Ferguson from the Royal community. “Pretty soon, I realized that she was the life-time lady for me.” They were married in the living room of the parsonage at Louisburg Baptist Church on May 30, 1950.
Maylon was a farmer from the time he was a boy until he was a married man with a young family. In the mid-50’s, he started what was initially intended to be a winter job at Westinghouse in Raleigh; he was encouraged to enter their Drafting Apprenticeship program. He enjoyed the work so much he stopped farming, and after completing the program (led by NC State instructors), he began a 20-year career, first at Westinghouse as a draftsman, and then later as a designer at ESB (Electric Storage Battery Company), also in Raleigh. At ESB, he was a member of the design group manufacturing torpedo and missile batteries. Early unmanned rocket flights to the moon used ESB Missile Batteries. The company’s main focus was the design and development of the converters used to step-up the DC voltage capability of batteries, and later with the growth of computer usage in industry, the design of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS Systems). During his Design Engineer career at ESB, he advanced to Department Supervisor.
Relocating from Louisburg to Rolesville in the late 50’s, he was active in numerous civic and volunteer organizations: he served two, two-year terms as a Rolesville Town Commissioner; was the first president of the then-new chapter of the Rolesville Lions Club; and, as a Mason, he was Master of the Rolesville Masonic Lodge 683 in 1968. In retirement, as recently as 2008, he was a member of the Rolesville Board of Adjustment. He also served for many years on the Book Committee for the Franklin County Heritage Society.
In 1960, Maylon transferred his membership from Maple Springs Baptist to Rolesville Baptist Church. He was a devoted member for 60 years, serving in numerous capacities: Financial Teller, Secretary of Sunday School, Deacon; and on many committees, including History and Bylaws, Audit, Personnel, Stewardship. He played an active role on the Building for the Future Committee, responsible for the planning and funding of the RBC Family Life Center in 2003. Most recently he served on the Worship Committee, the Shut-In Ministry and for 12+ years coordinated the Wednesday Night Adult Bible Study series.
In the mid 1970’s, due to complications recovering from surgery for severe colitis, he was forced to retire early. After many years of convalescence, he slowly regained his health enough to resume church and community volunteer activities, enjoy his grandsons, raise a bountiful crop of blueberries each year, and spend many pleasant hours aboard his trusty John Deere. Recent heart issues and CLL combined to keep him off his lawn mower and home from church, but he spent every evening of the last few months watching reruns of The Virginian with his life-time lady. He didn’t want to be the first to go, but don’t worry Daddy: rest in peace, we’ll take care of Mama.
In addition to his parents, Maylon was preceded in death by his brother Willis V. Cooke, also of Rolesville. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, his brother M. Thomas Cooke of Mt Pleasant, SC; his children: Maylon G. Cooke (Terry) and Cathy C. McKee (Joel) of Charlotte, Jerry V. Cooke (Kim) of Parrish, Florida and Stanley T. Cooke of Rolesville; three grandsons: Matthew G. Cooke (Vanessa) of Raleigh, Carson E. McKee of Brooklyn, NY and Skylar E. McKee of Charlotte.
Deep gratitude and love from the family to caregiver Tiffiany Cannady.
A funeral service will be held at 1 o’clock Friday afternoon, November 20, 2020 in the Chapel of Bright Funeral Home. Burial will follow in the Maple Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in Louisburg.
Donations may be made in honor of Mr. Cooke to Rolesville Baptist Church, P.O. 185, Rolesville, NC 27571 or Heartland Hospice Care 3200 Atlantic Ave., Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27604.