Patricia 'Trisha' Kathleen Cooke, 59, a member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, died May 17 in her home surrounded by family. Her death, a shock to her loved ones, came a short time after learning that she had stage four cancer. There will be a celebration of her life at a later date when gatherings are permitted.

Ms. Cooke was born Mary 29, 1960, to William and Henrietta Cooke.

Trisha "Patti" attended Sacred Heart School, graduated from St. Mary's Academy in 1978 and earned her degree in elementary education from Oregon State University in 1982. Her gift for teaching in the primary grades K-3 would become her lifelong career and greatest joy. The first six years of her teaching career was in Bush, Alaska, accessible only by small 6-person planes. She was immersed in Eskimo Village culture as she taught in the Alaskan villages of Napakiak, Chefornak and Kotlik. She returned to Portland and taught at Applegate, Brooklyn and Winterhaven, a school for talented and gifted children. Her ability to inspire students to learn, grow and consistently exceed expectations gained her an award for Excellence in Education by the Portland Public Schools Foundation in 1998.

She earned a master's degree from San Diego University in 1999. Upon returning to Portland she taught at Chapman School and then accepted an invitation to teach at Winterhaven again, where she spent her last years teaching. Ms. Cooke was beloved by students and appreciated by parents for her positive influence on their children. One famously favorite lesson was a virtual trip to the Antartic to learn about penguins.

Zoey and Maggie Mae, her two Shih Tzus, were her loving and trusted companions. She was also passionate about gardening, creative and constantly making things.

She loved adventure and traveled the world but especially loved Puerto Vallarta. Her many friends recognized her genuine kindness and loving spirit. One described her translucent blue eyes as being like a window to her beautiful soul, saying that everyone she touched will miss her greatly.

Ms. Cooke’s father died 10 years ago and her eldest brother Bill passed away 24 years ago. She is survived by her mother, 90 years old, who lives at St. Anthony's Village; her older brothers Edward and Bob; and her younger sister, Mary.

Gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to Portland Public Schools Foundation.