COOK-MOORE, Mariette (Gerri) Beloved wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend passed on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2005, at the age of 57. Born January 1st, 1948 in Rivers, Manitoba, Gerri lived in various parts of Canada until settling in St. Albert, Alberta. Gerri was a highly respected, award winning screen-writer, mentor, television/film producer, and author of the Dinosaur Soup children’s book series. She is survived by her loving husband, Steve; her father, Howard (Cecile); brothers, Ray (Harriet), Don (Jennifer), Dave (Angie); and sister, Lorraine. Gerri was pre-deceased by her mother, Blanche (Landry) Cook. Her spirit now is free to roam the universe.
Local writer and filmmaker Gerri Cook best known for her Dinosaur Soup books
The Edmonton Journal
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Children’s author Gerri Cook was a tireless supporter of the Alberta film industry and many different causes during her life.
EDMONTON – St. Albert writer and filmmaker Gerri Cook was one of the Alberta film industry’s most tireless supporters, those who knew her say.
“Her nurturing spirit will be missed,” Pati Olson says of her 57-year-old friend and colleague who died March 2 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Olson and Cook shared an office for years and developed many film projects together, including one about beluga whales and a series of animated films.
“Our work was our socializing, because when you love what you do, you want to work all of the time,” Olson says.
She remembers Cook as someone who loved to collect friends, pets and causes.
“If there was an underdog or somebody who was hurt or needed help, she was right in there,” Olson says. “And I ended up with a dog and cat.”
Most of Cook’s film work and picture books dealt with children’s or aboriginal stories.
“I think she was a pretty rebellious child and a loner,” Olson says. “She was always an avid reader and she was always inventing stories in her mind.
“She never had any children of her own, so her shows and books were like her babies.”
Cook was a New Year’s baby in 1948 in Rivers, Man., and grew up in a military family, living in several communities throughout Canada before settling in St. Albert.
In 2002, she was given only weeks to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, says Steve Moore, her husband of nearly 27 years.
In the years that followed, she tried several alternative therapies and kept up her spirits until her last few days, when she knew her kidneys were failing.
“But she had a good three years,” Moore says.
He said his wife was perhaps best known for her three illustrated Dinosaur Soup books, which grew out of an earlier attempt to pitch a TV series of the same name to ITV, then an independent station but now part of Global.
“It was just prior to Barney, but some of the guys in development didn’t think a kids’ story about a dinosaur was a go,” Moore said.
Alan Brooks, executive director of the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association, says Cook was admired for her drive to drum up support for Alberta’s beleaguered film industry in the 1990s and for promoting professional development within the industry. She also created and taught a film-production course at NAIT.
“She truly believed the future was in the young people,” Brooks says.
In 2003, Cook won AMPIA’s Friend of the Industry Award, one of the group’s highest honours.
“It’s given out to someone who makes such a contribution to the industry that everyone benefits,” Brooks says.
Geo Takach, who took Cook’s NAIT course, has created the Gerri Cook Memorial Screenwriting Scholarship at MacEwan, where he teaches screenwriting. NAIT also has set up an award in her name.
“She was also a writer and I wanted that aspect of her legacy to live on,” Takach says. “She was always looking for ways to help people in the industry, especially the newbies.”