Georgiann Sue “Cookie” (Schaaf) Clark, 80, died at the Insured Assisted Memory Care Home in Centennial, CO on July 25, 2022 of Alzheimer’s disease.
Cookie was born on March 15, 1942 in Eau Claire, WI. His parents were Gerald Schaaf and Juanita (Budrow) Schaaf. She has a brother, John Schaaf, of Eau Claire. She was married to Kirk B. Clark, also a native of Eau Claire, now living in Centennial, CO. They have two sons: Kevin Clark of Centennial, CO, and Scott Clark, of Santa Fe, TX.
Cookie lived a wonderful life as a daughter, sister, wife of an Air Force fighter pilot, mother, teacher, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, aunt, and friend. Her life has been filled with love and laughter, education, adventure and fun.
Cookie was born and raised in Eau Claire, WI, and has always been an Eau Claire girl. She grew up in a house at 801 West Grand Avenue on Half Moon Lake near Carson Park. There is now a park bench that marks the spot where the Schaaf House once stood.
Although her first name was Georgiann, everyone still called her Cookie. The reason is that when her parents were leaving the hospital with their newborn daughter, one of the nurses asked them, “What are you going to name her?” They said, “Georgiann.” The nurse responded by saying, “GEORGIANN?! It’s an awful name! Why don’t you call her Cookie? And her name has been Cookie ever since.
From a young age, Cookie always knew she wanted to be a teacher. As a child, she lined up her dolls in rows, gave each a book, and continued to teach every day. After raising her family, Cookie fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. She taught kindergarten and second grade at Jewell Elementary School in Aurora, CO for 20 years before retiring in 2000.
Cookie loved growing up in Eau Claire. She enjoyed figure skating on Half Moon Lake during the winters. She learned to swim at the Eau Claire YMCA and attended the YMCA’s Camp Manitou during the summers. She also enjoyed swimming and sunbathing at the Half Moon Lake swimming beach. Cookie’s brother, John Schaaf, is a huge sports fan and she shares his love of sports with him and his entire family.
Cookie has a strong Christian faith which was nurtured at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. She was baptized, confirmed, and married at Grace Lutheran Church. She enjoyed going to church and singing in the choir wherever she lived at the time. While living in Aurora, CO, she was active in Faith Presbyterian Church. She sang in the choir for many years, taught Sunday school and served as a deacon.
Cookie attended Eau Claire Memorial High School (Class of 1960). She loved high school and was a cheerleader during her senior year.
In high school, Cookie met the man she would marry, Kirk B. Clark (class of 1958). Kirk played football and baseball in high school.
After high school, Kirk went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. After Kirk graduated from the Academy, these two high school sweethearts were married on June 30, 1962, at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. It was the start of Cookie’s next big adventure as the wife of a fighter pilot and mother of two boys.
Cookie and Kirk have two sons, Kevin and Scott. Kevin and his wife Cheryl (Lesh) live in Centennial, CO. Scott and his wife Laura (Cullen) live in Santa Fe, TX. Cookie has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Kevin and Cheryl have three sons: Andrew Clark, Matthew Clark and Aaron Clark. They live in the Denver, CO metro area. Scott and Laura have two daughters: Jordan Rusk (Brad) and Connor Jennings (Mitchell). Jordan and Brad have three children: two boys, Lincoln Rusk and Jackson Rusk, and a girl, Madison Rusk. All of Scott and Laura’s children and grandchildren live in the Houston, Texas metro area.
Cookie has always put family first. For Kevin and Scott, she was absolutely the best mom ever! She was a source of unconditional love. She always made life a fun adventure. She was our first and best teacher. She was the strength and the glue that held our family together as we moved across the country and around the world since my father was a fighter pilot in the Air Force, then a pilot with Western and Delta Airlines.
Since Dad was away about half the time flying for the Air Force and the airlines, Mom was like a single mom most of the time, holding the fort and raising us kids. She could do it all, and she did it with style and grace.
While Kirk was in the Air Force and flying as an airline pilot, Cookie and the family were stationed in Phoenix, AZ; Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath, England; Seattle, WA; Anchorage, AK; Tucson, Ariz.; Minneapolis, MN; and Denver, CO. Cookie has always been able to create a wonderful and loving home for us no matter where we live.
Cookie received her Bachelor of Education from Colorado Women’s College in 1981 and then began a twenty-year teaching career. She taught kindergarten and second grade at Jewell Elementary School in Aurora, CO and retired in 2000. Along the way, she earned a master’s degree in education from Lesley College, MA.
Kevin and Scott agree Cookie was a great mom. She made everything fun. She took us on many adventures including the zoo, museums, amusement parks, movies, putt-putt golf, swimming and always took us to the library.
Cookie may have started her career as a cheerleader in high school, but she was a cheerleader by nature and a cheerleader in life. For Scott and Kevin, she was our biggest cheerleader, attending our sporting events in little league, youth soccer, youth basketball, and high school soccer and basketball. She supported her children and grandchildren in all of their pursuits, including sports (soccer, basketball, lacrosse) and the arts (piano, theater, dance). She encouraged all of us in all endeavours, including life.
In addition to cheering on her family in all their activities, she enjoyed cheering on teams from her home country: the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers. She cheered on all the Air Force Academy teams and often attended Air Force football games with Kirk. She also enjoyed rooting for all of Colorado’s professional sports teams, including the Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets, and Rockies.
Mom was very competitive and she enjoyed playing games of all kinds: tennis, racquetball, croquet, table tennis, card games and board games. She really knew how to have fun!
The last years of Cookie’s life were difficult as she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, she knew her family until the end and Kevin was able to be with her when she passed away peacefully in her bed on July 25, 2022.
Cookie’s most enduring legacy is the gift of love. She was a source of unconditional love for her family and especially for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everyone who knew her loved her because she loved them. She gave this deep gift of love to everyone, including all the students she taught over those twenty years.
Cookie was a happy, loving person who loved helping others, teaching children, and encouraging them so they could be the best person they could be and achieve their goals in life.
Just like her name, Cookie, she was simply sweet and wonderful. Not to mention she made some of the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet!
We love you mom! We will miss you. We can’t wait to eat some of your chocolate chip cookies again when we see you again in paradise.
Cookie is survived by her sons Kevin Clark (Cheryl) of Centennial, CO, and Scott Clark (Laura) of Santa Fe, TX; his grandsons Andrew Clark, Matthew Clark and Aaron Clark of Denver, CO; his granddaughters Jordan Rusk (Brad) and Connor Jennings (Mitchell) of Houston, TX; his great-grandchildren Lincoln Rusk, Jackson Rusk and Madison Rusk of Houston, TX; his brother John Schaaf (Nancy) of Eau Claire, WI; his niece Sara (Schaaf) Jappinen (husband Mark) of Oconomowoc, WI; additional extended family members; and many friends.
Cookie was predeceased by her parents Gerald Schaaf and Juanita (Budrow) Schaaf; and his nephew Mark Schaaf. Her husband Kirk B. Clark died on July 31, 2022 in Centennial, CO.
A memorial service and celebration of life in honor of Cookie and Kirk is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at the Horan & McConaty Mortuary Chapel in Aurora, CO. Friends and family are welcome. Their ashes will be interred at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in a private family ceremony at a later date.
Final arrangements are handled by Horan & McConaty Mortuary in Aurora, CO. There is an online obituary where you can leave your stories, memories or thoughts about Cookie for the family to read. You can also upload photos there if you wish. Their website is www.HoranCares.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Eau Claire YMCA or Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. To donate to the YMCA, please call Suzie Slota, Director of Mission Advancement, at 715-839-4631 or email her at [email protected] To learn more about YMCA Eau Claire’s great work in the community, please visit their website at YMCA of the Chippewa Valley at www.ymca-cv.org. To donate to Grace Lutheran Church, call 715-832-9713 or go online at www.grace-church.org.