The Ark

Whatever floats your boat...

The internet is a wonderful thing. For me it's my window on the world. But, In addition to the wonderful connections I've made, sometimes you get news that hurts deeply.

About a week ago I learned about the passing of a friend of mine, Patricia Hemenway Cook. I had not seen her in many years, but still thought about her often. Patty was young, only 59. We met at my last job. Patty and I became fast friends, always making each other laugh. She was well known in town as a talented singer, as well as for her sparkling personality. It was wonderful to work with her, and I felt privileged to be included in her circle of family and friends outside of work. We all celebrated each others birthdays and commiserated when we had problems. I was at her wedding, where she married a great guy who had also worked at the same university. Their marriage truly was a match made in heaven.

Here is a small excerpt from Patty's obituary:

"Patty made a career move to New York City. Within a year, after signing with an agent and gigs at the Little Hippodrome and on the TV soap, "The Doctors," she found herself auditioning for the national tour of "Evita." Among those who would decide her future was none other than Hal Prince, the musical's Tony Award-winning director, a man whose catalog of credits includes "Cabaret," "Damn Yankees" and "Fiddler on the Roof." Patty once recalled how nervous she felt prior to the audition. "I stopped at St. Patrick's and said my prayers. Then they warned me that 'he will most likely stop you. But that won't mean anything - he's pressed for time.'" Prince liked what he heard. Not only did he allow her to perform the entire rendition of "Rainbow High," but he asked her to sing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," "Buenos Aires" and other show-stoppers. The following morning, she was awakened by a telephone call informing her that she had not one but two parts in the show - an aristocrat in the evening performances and the starring role of "Evita" in the matinees. Patricia Hemenway Cook's rise in "Evita" was rapid. The road show sold out the 5,000-seat Masonic Temple in Detroit in its debut, and was a smash in Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and elsewhere. Within months, she was called to New York to star as Eva Peron in the Broadway production's matinee performances and play an aristocrat in the evening shows. After more rave reviews, she was elevated to the lead role in the evening. Remembering those not-so-distant yesterdays, she said that it was "easier to perform 'Evita' six nights a week instead of twice. Your voice found its comfort place with the score. You're so energized. The role is so challenging. I was constantly changing and improving it."

Patty's talent was exceeded by her joy of life and sweet personality. I didn't know she had been ill, so the news of her passing came as even more of a shock to me. Even though I hadn't seen her in several years, I feel like the light in the world just dimmed a little.

I hope my Arkian friends don't mind me sharing this here. I wish you could all have known my friend.

Views: 7

Comment by Pypermarru1 on November 28, 2009 at 8:30pm
I don't mind one bit. I'm happy to hear about her. I'm glad you honor her in this way. Thanks.
Comment by photo2010 on November 29, 2009 at 12:21am
Pyper, thanks for your kind comment.
Comment by NatureJunkie on November 29, 2009 at 5:06pm
Yes, the Internet is this fabulous connector that enables strangers to become friends, but it can also serve as the most impersonal of messengers when it comes to disseminating bad news. I'm sorry you learned of Patricia's death that way, Kevin.

But on the "wonderful" side again, you've been able to share her triumphs here with a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise know of her. I wish I could have seen her on the stage. It sounds like she was a show stopper.
Comment by photo2010 on November 29, 2009 at 10:21pm
@NJ, thank you very much. I guess there is no 'good' way to learn of news iike this. Patty was amazing on stage and off. I wish I had been able to talk to her recently. I just didn't know.
Comment by SydTheSkeptic on November 29, 2009 at 11:43pm
Kev, thanks for that. She obvious was a bright shining light in the world and you honor her well by bringing us into it.
Comment by photo2010 on November 30, 2009 at 1:49pm
Syd, thanks. I think you would have enjoyed knowing each other. I tried to show just a little of what she meant to me.

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