On Saturday morning, February 11, 2023, the Lord graciously called Jacob Ranger Cok, 98, to new life in his eternal home in heaven. The legacy of his faith was his testimony, “I am not alone; the Lord is with me.” Jake was a gentleman with a kind, quiet spirit and compassionate heart. He was quick to listen and thought before he spoke. With his easy smile and quick wit, Jake always enjoyed a good joke. He is now in the presence of Christ and reunited with his dear bride, infant sons, precious granddaughter, and family and friends who have gone before.
Jake was born on September 16, 1924, to Henry and Trinia (Kimm) Cok in Manhattan, MT. He was the second-born of four, growing up on the family farm with his older brother, Steven, and younger siblings, John and Wilma. At age ten, Jake's brother Steven (twelve) became sick with a blood disease and was taken home to the Lord. The traumatic loss greatly impacted the family and drew Jake, John, and Wilma closer together. Their bond remained strong their entire lives, with all three living into their 90s.
Jake received his education through tenth grade at Manhattan Christian School. At age 16, he met a beautiful girl, Nelle Alberda, at Young People’s Society. They fell in love and were married several years later on March 17, 1946, at First Manhattan Christian Reformed Church in Churchill, MT. Weeks after their wedding, Jake was drafted into the Army and headed to Ft. McClellan, AL, for basic training. Upon completion, Jake and Nelle traveled to Camp Stoneman in Pittsburg, CA, where he received his GED from Pittsburg High School. Jake soon left for overseas duty and Nelle returned to Montana. He first traveled by ship to Pearl Harbor before spending time in Okinawa and Manila. Jake was transferred to Korea, where he served during the winter of 1946 to March 1947 as a Military Police. He was honorably discharged from a base in Oakland, CA, two weeks before the birth of their first son on Easter Sunday. Over the next 20 years, Jake and Nelle had eight more children; three of whom were placed in the arms of Jesus as infants. As Jake wrote, “These were sad times. The Lord saw us through them and we have experienced much joy in raising our family.” Jake’s dedication as a husband, his generosity and love as a father and grandfather is a testament to who he was.
After his time in the military, Jake began his dairy and farming career. He and his sons operated the farm with the help of many hired men, several of whom expressed the lasting impact Jake had on their lives. One shared it was Jake’s genuine care for others, his kindness and patience that he remembers 40 years later. Jake’s love for the farm carried through even after his sons took over; he continued to feed calves and help with the harvest, often driving up to the fields to check on the crops. As a Darigold producer, he served on the Board of Directors.
Jake was an active lifelong member of Manhattan Christian Reformed Church, serving as an elder. A faithful supporter of Manhattan Christian School, he served as treasurer of the School Board.
Those in the community will likely remember Jake at one of the various coffee shops in the Gallatin Valley with cup in hand and a big smile. He loved to meet up with his friends and would strike up a conversation with anyone. Jake and Nelle had the gift of hospitality, generously welcoming many visitors into their home. Sundays and holidays were always special as the family grew and came together to share a delicious spread prepared by Grandma. The grandkids took over the basement while the adults… honestly, who knows what the adults did upstairs because the basement was way more fun! Jake loved fishing on the Gallatin River and boating on Canyon Ferry Lake. He also took several fishing trips to Canada with friends and family. During the summers, Jake would meet his friends on the golf course weekly at Cottonwood Hills. Jake and Nelle enjoyed traveling, touring much of the United States with friends, and visiting relatives. They valued time spent with their Cok siblings and rarely missed Tuesday lunch at the Korner Café. In their recent years, they cherished the time spent with their youngest grandson, Benjamin, who took them on rides and out for lunch. Jake and Nelle appreciated being a part of the Churchill Retirement Home community. Jake was grateful for all the care and kindness he received there in recent months.
Jake and Nelle were married 74 years when God called Nelle to glory on October 23, 2020.
Jacob was preceded in death by his parents, wife, infant son David, infant twins Dale and Daryl, granddaughter Amanda, son-in-law Bernard Schut, and brother Steven, sister Wilma Sinnema Flikkema, and siblings-in-laws: Norman Sinnema, Lloyd Flikkema, Barbara Cok, Edith and Harry Leep, Peter and Hannah Alberda, Jake and Jean Alberda, Cora and Joe Bos, Elizabeth and Garrett Cole, Joe and Dorothy Alberda, Henry and Ellen Alberda, Jeanette Alberda, William and Wilma Alberda.
Jacob is survived by his children: Ronald (Joan), Yvonne Schut, Timothy (Lois), William (Theresa), Lisa (John) Pausma, and Janelle (Eric) Gustafson. Also survived by 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren: Joshua (Liza) [Lucas, Oliver]; Jeremy (Tara) [Henry, Gemma, Jasper]; Paige (Robert) Light [Kamryn, Sierra, Mazzy]; Troy; Camilla; Ryan; Jared; Robert (Aspen) [Carly]; James (Mara); David (Chloe) Hays; Rhiana (Jason) Dornbos [Parker, Dakota]; Shaun (Caroline) [Ezra, Theo]; Jacob (Renae) Pausma [Ada, Nora]; Zachary (Caitlyn) Schut [William]; Matthew (Brielle) Pausma [Logan, Hudson, Gibson]; Carissa Pausma; Anica (Dylan) Gooch; and Benjamin Gustafson. Also survived by his brother John and sister-in-law Marjorie Alberda.
A Visitation will be held at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service on Sunday, February 19 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. A Committal Service will be held at the Churchill Cemetery on Monday, February 20 at 1:15 pm, followed by a Celebration of Jacob’s life at 2:00 pm at the Manhattan Christian Reformed Church. Memorials can be made to the Manhattan Christian School Foundation.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15,17.