Seth’s memory touches hundreds

DARRINGTON – Seth Cook, 13, knew his illness was taking its course and that his time was running out.

Rather than pity himself, the Darrington boy decided to comfort those he’d be leaving behind.

Seth, who was diagnosed early in life with an extremely rare aging disease, asked his family to bring his collection of roughly 200 Beanie Babies to his funeral.

He wanted them to be handed out to children his age and younger.

“He never complained, never asked ‘why me,’” said Stephanie Allestad, 36, a longtime friend of the Cook family. “He was so encouraging and inspiring.”

Seth died at his home June 25 after suffering from a heart attack. His death was the result of his illness, called progeria, which accelerates the aging process at a rate of eight to 10 times faster than normal.

On Saturday, hundreds of people attended Seth’s funeral service at the Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Darrington. At the family’s request, the media did not attend the funeral.

Afterward, people gathered for a community dinner at Darrington High School. They sat and ate at folding tables, packing the gymnasium.

Several framed photos of Seth were set up in the corner, between the desert and dinner buffets. In one picture, he stood barefoot on a sunny beach, his arms outstretched, wearing a blue and red Superman T-shirt. In another, Seth was in a swimming pool, lying back in an inner tube.

“He would have loved this, everyone getting together here for him,” said Jesse Schoneman, 14, who was friends with Seth.

Church Pastor Les Hagen said a recording of Seth was played during his funeral service. The recording, taken nearly a year ago, was of Seth talking to teens at the church about how to conquer their fears.

A video shown during the service included footage of Seth playing with his dog, Bullet, and running around the pool table at his family’s home, Hagen said.

The programs given out at the service included a letter from Seth, reminding people they would see him again someday in heaven.

“He crammed this much life into this little time span,” said Hagen, stretching out his arms and then bringing them back together until his hands were just inches apart.

“He never lived by his limitations,” Hagen said. “He was just a boy.”

Teachers who watched Seth advance through school described him as an enthusiastic student. He soaked up knowledge like a sponge, said Ann Nemnich, a teacher at Darrington Elementary School.

Seth graduated from sixth grade at Darrington Elementary School before switching to home school. He recently finished eighth grade and took part in the ceremonial end-of-the-year ceremony at Darrington Middle School.

His classmates were always careful when playing with Seth, and they always treated him with respect, Nemnich said.

“They were in awe of him, but they were never afraid of him,” she said.

Allestad – who became friends with Seth’s mother, Patti Cook, about 10 years ago – said Seth loved his family.

He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his dad, Kyle Cook, and playing video games and going to Christian rock concerts.

Allestad said her family often played Monopoly with the Cooks, and that one game lasted until 1 a.m.

Seth was at peace with himself, and he always tried to make others comfortable around him, Allestad said.

Until his final moments, he set an example for others to follow, she said.

“He reminds you to analyze your own life and to set priorities to what’s important, because life can be short,” she said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Sunlight illuminates a framed photograph of Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento while their daughter Rowella Sarmiento cries reading her statement to the court during Caleb Wride’s sentencing on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At sentencing, family mourns parents killed in fatal DUI crash

Caleb Wride, 23, of Everett, was sentenced Monday for the head-on crash that killed Mila and Wilfrido Sarmiento.

The Smith Ave homelessness camp Thursday afternoon in Everett on March 11, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Audit: Snohomish County lacks data-driven approach to homeless services

The Washington State Auditor’s Office this month published a 73-page report looking into four local governments across the state.

(Dutton)
Pulitzer winner’s new book digs into Snohomish County cold case killings

The Everett library will host a talk with Edward Humes on “The Forever Witness,” about a double murder and pioneering DNA evidence.

Marysville Jail (City of Marysville)
Man with hepatitis C accused of spitting on Marysville jail staff

Hepatitis C is usually spread through blood. The suspect, 28, faces allegations of exposing the officers to a contagious disease.

Lawmakers meet on the Senate floor, Thursday, March 10, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington lawmakers were wrapping up their work Thursday with final votes on a supplemental state budget and a transportation revenue package before planning to adjourn the legislative session. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Crime, climate, abortion on docket in legislative session warm-up

Washington lawmakers will hold 39 hearings this week. Nearly all will be conducted in person, which hasn’t happened in three years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
New director named for county’s Department of Emergency Managment

After six years, Jason Biermann has stepped aside but will stay in Snohomish County. Lucia Schmit will move in from Seattle.

Lynnwood
Man taken into custody after threats, standoff at Lynnwood business

After four hours, a SWAT team detained the man, who claimed to have a gun and barricaded himself in the 17700 block of Highway 99.

Everett
1 killed in south Everett crash, shooting

On Friday, police responded to reports of gunfire. They found a man trapped in a rolled vehicle, with an apparent gunshot wound.

Snohomish County vital statistics

Marriage licenses, dissolutions and deaths.

Most Read