Pat Eakins-Cook of Clemson, SC, passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at Easley Baptist Hospital, due to complications from a chronic illness.
Born in Burr Oak, Kansas, Pat was the only child of Vernon Lemuel Eakins and Ora Crawford Eakins. She had six other siblings from her parents’ previous marriages: Annabel Miles, Douglas Wood, Mary Raburn, Maxine Garman, Edena Garman, and Neva Walker. As the youngest member of her combined family, she was predeceased by her parents and all of her siblings.
Over her 81 years, Pat lived in Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, and South Carolina. In 1965, she married Bruce Farrell Cook. They enjoyed a strong and loving marriage over the following 49 years, up to the time of Bruce’s passing in 2014. Together they raised four children: Timothy (Tim) of Marietta, GA (Michelle), Sean of Athens, GA (Sarah), Aaron of Clemson, SC, and Heather of Clemson, SC. She is survived by her four children and two grandchildren, Brendan and Susannah (Susie) of Athens, GA. She supported Bruce in pursuing his master’s and doctoral degrees and her four children in earning a combined seven degrees from Clemson University.
Pat had many educational and professional achievements of her own. As a young woman, she graduated from Tom S. Lubbock High School in 1960 and earned a Fine Arts degree from Texas Tech in 1964. She taught high school in Texas and later instructed courses at Tri-County Technical College. For 25 years, she worked at Clemson University; for the Textiles Department and in the Dean’s Office of the College of Business and Professional Development. She was the first recipient of the College’s Team Player Award.
Throughout her life, Pat applied her dramatic talents and was very involved in theater. During her time in high school, she was honored to receive first and second-place Interscholastic League High School awards for her work as a director of a one-act play. During college, she won a major talent show. She worked in summer stock shows for two years, acted in eleven community theater productions, directed numerous plays, and assisted with backstage operations, including set-building, lighting, props, makeup, and costumes. She was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Clemson Little Theatre Board and its various committees since 1966. Pat was also one of the founding members of the Clemson Area Youth Theatre, which continues to offer area children many opportunities to develop their talents, gain confidence, and learn through teamwork. She helped to restore the old school building in Central that was an early home to CLT and CAYT and helped raise money to buy and restore their current home, the Pendleton Playhouse. She also appeared in two plays at Clemson University.
Pat was active in the Clemson community for many years, through membership in the Clemson Area Women’s Club and as Director of the Clemson University Women’s Choral Reading Group. She supported local education as a member of the Morrison Elementary Library Committee and President of the Daniel High School Band Boosters. She was a Cub Scout leader and assisted with Brownie Scout and Girl Scout troops and was a member of the Service-Social Sorority Beta Sigma Phi. When the City of Clemson considered taking possession of the wooded buffer between Hillcrest Avenue and North Clemson Avenue to convert to parking for city vehicles, she organized a “Save the Greenspace” campaign with neighbors that resulted in the establishment of Shanklin-Sams Park.
Pat had a heart for service and was a member of a local Committee for Affordable Housing, served on the Social Justice Committee of St. Andrew Catholic Church, and volunteered with Clemson Community Care. Her kindness and giving heart extended to many others in the community. She was an additional mother figure to children in CAYT, students in Clemson University Tiger Band, and the children of close family friends. This was especially true in regard to the family of the late Ed and Sue Vaughn, including their children and grandchildren. Many referred to her as “Miss Pat,” “Mama Cook,” and later “Grammie Cook.” During Bruce’s time directing Clemson University Tiger Band, she hosted cookouts for graduating seniors at the Cook family home, helped with alterations to majorette and flag corps uniforms, and served as a chaperone for approximately 96 road trips, including bowl games.
A deeply faithful woman, Pat was an active member of St. Andrew Catholic Church and used her voice to speak God’s word as a Church lector for over two decades. She actively engaged in various ministries and programs, including Walking With Purpose, Christ Renews His Parish, and numerous bible study classes. Her love of God and commitment to serving others in her church community resulted in many long-lasting relationships. Pat’s example of faith, love, and community inspired others to strive to spread kindness, understanding, and compassion in their own lives.
Pat’s family and friends enjoyed her cleverness, sense of humor, and innate comedic timing. She loved to make people laugh and was a big fan of puns, wordplay, and funny everyday happenings. She took an interest in everyone she met and was uniquely able to connect with people by learning their personal stories. Pat was kind and encouraging and helped her husband, children, family members, and friends through many life challenges, including career decisions, life choices, and managing illnesses, accidents, and the other various and sundry nonsense life throws at people. Those who knew her also know that she would humbly deflect credit from herself more often than sing her own praises. This praise would likely embarrass her, but she would surely enjoy reading such about anyone else.
She lived her life with joy, worked hard, and valued nothing more than time to relax with friends and family, have fun conversations, and enjoy time together. She especially enjoyed sitting on her front porch and back patio and having a well-deserved glass of wine while appreciating the landscape she and Bruce developed since 1977, watching birds at many feeders around the yard, and scolding squirrels for stealing bird seed.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 6, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home in Central. The Funeral Service will be held Friday, July 7, at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Clemson, beginning at 11:00 a.m., with a reception to follow. A private interment for immediate family only will be held at Woodland Cemetery following the ceremony. In lieu of flowers, Pat asked that donations be made to the Clemson Little Theatre, Clemson Community Care, or the Bruce F. Cook Scholarship Endowment Grant-In-Aid at Clemson University.