This is the long version of an obituary prepared by Billy's two older sons, Hal and Bob.
Sybilla Pomeroy Avery Cook, known by many as “Billy,” longtime resident of Long Grove, IL, Roseburg, OR and most recently the Mirabella Portland died at her home there early Sunday, October 27, 2019. She was 89 years old.
An avid lover of books, a writer and advocate for libraries, she was born August 20, 1930 at Buffalo, NY, the eldest child of Edward Carrington Avery and Elizabeth Amelia Boorum of Auburn. She was just 5 years old and her younger brother Charles Carrington not yet 3 when their mother died. Her father remarried Jean Louden Drummond, who later gave birth to her half-brother, Robert Davies Avery. Both brothers predeceased her.
Following elementary education in Auburn, in 1944 Sybilla entered Mary C. Wheeler School in Providence, R.I., then a girl’s boarding school, graduating in 1948. She went on to attend Smith College, but in 1949 left for Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL, where she completed her baccalaureate degree in English literature and Education in 1951. There she and fellow student, John D. Cook became engaged, marrying in Auburn, NY on June 12, 1951. They lived and worked in the northern Chicagoland suburbs for some 25 years where they raised their family of three boys (Harold, 1952; Robert, 1954; Raymond, 1957).
As her children grew, Billy returned to teaching, first as an aid, then as a substitute teacher. In 1966 she enrolled in Rosary College (now Dominican University, River Forest, IL), where she completed her master’s degree in Library Science in 1968 and worked until 1976 as Library Media Specialist in River Forest and Des Plaines, IL.
Long-time residents of Long Grove, IL, she and John moved in 1976 to Roseburg, Oregon, where Billy was Library Media Specialist for the Winston-Dillard and later Glide schools. After further formal studies she earned her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Oregon in 1982. In 1984 she was honored to be named both Glide Teacher of the Year and Oregon Elementary Library Media Teacher of the Year. In 1986 her Instructional Design for Libraries: An Annotated Bibliography was published.
Retiring from full-time work in 1990, she did consulting for the Umpqua, Ash Valley, and Elkton School Districts in Douglas County until 1996. From 1988 to 1994 she also served as an Adjunct Library Science Instructor at Western Oregon State University. With Cheryl Page she published Books, Battles, And Bees: A Reader’s Competition Resource For Intermediate Grades in 1994. An active member of the Douglas County Friends of the Library, she received their Gandalf Award that same year.
In retirement, Billy devoted herself to writing. She published a guide to exploring Portland (Walking Portland, 1998; new edition 2013), and together with co-authors, two other books to encourage student reading (Battle of The Books and More, 2001 and 2004). She also wrote numerous articles and book reviews for magazines, professional journals, and newspapers.
After being widowed on July 7, 2007, her main authorial efforts led to her book: Drawn Together in Art, Love, and Friendships; The Biography of Caldecott Award-winning Authors Berta and Elmer Hader (Concordia University Publishing, 2016). She was presented the Oregon Library Association Children’s Services Division’s Evelyn Sibley Lapman Award 2016 “For significant contributions in library service for the benefit of the children of Oregon.”
Over the years Billy developed a large network of friends, and participated in many organizations including the Association of Writers, the Oregon Educational Media Association, the Oregon branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Episcopal Church Women and the American Association of University Women.
She moved from Roseburg to the Mirabella Portland, OR in November, 2010 to live closer to family and was very happy when a granddaughter later moved to a condo viewable from and within easy walking distance of the Mirabella. Leaving her home of many years in Roseburg was difficult, but she soon found that she loved living in her new apartment near the heart of the city. She enjoyed riding the streetcar, was entranced when the sun illuminated her view of Mt. St. Helens and enjoyed seeing the boats, bridges and cityscapes along the Willamette River, the building and launching of barges, the summer fireworks, the Christmas flotilla and many other activities all just outside her windows and deck. She expanded her Scrabble playing online or in person, and actively participated in numerous resident committees, writing associations and organizations while remaining politically and socially active with various groups and organizations. She especially loved meeting and socializing with the many new and interesting people she met continually enlarging her web of friends at the many dinners, parties and events she enjoyed. She frequently expressed amazed gratitude as to how her life, her circumstances and her family had all turned out.
She is survived by her three sons: Harold of Providence, RI, Robert of Portland, OR, and Ray Cook of West Newberry, MA, and their wives Faye Getz, Carolyn Stevens, and Marcia Sellos-Mora, grandchildren Avery Cook of Portland, OR, Matthew Cook and his wife Courtney of Bend, OR, Alyssa Messmer and her husband Ben of Ann Arbor, MI, Ana Moura-Cook of Palo Alto, CA and Thomas Moura-Cook of Ithaca, NY. Her great-grandchildren are Marlo Quinn Cook and Atlas Carrington Cook. She’s also survived by three nieces, two of three nephews, and their spouses and children.
A service and celebration of her life will be held Saturday, 11/9 at Willamette Hall, Mirabella Portland, 3550 SW Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239 from 2-4pm.
Funeral arrangements co-ordinated by threadgillmemorial.com