Tri-Village News

Music fest a fitting coda for Cooke

Event's income covers murder victim's funeral, starts trust for her daughter

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Sunny skies, friends and lots of music -- it was a day Jennifer Cooke would have enjoyed.

The Lady of the Lake Festival was held Sunday, Aug. 25, on the lawn of the Grandview Heights Public Library to celebrate the life of Cooke, the Grandview resident who was murdered earlier this month in her home.

"I felt like the festival was a huge success," said Za Unitt, a friend and neighbor of Cooke's who helped organize the event.

"It was miraculous it all came together so well in just 11 days," she said.

A dozen bands played at the festival, which also included a bake sale, a silent auction of art and T-shirt sales to raise money for the Jennifer Cooke Memorial Fund.

The festival raised enough money to pay for the funeral expenses and to start a trust for Cooke's 10-year-old daughter, Vivian, Unitt said.

"The family has asked that we thank everyone for their love, support and generosity," she said.

Donations can be made to the memorial fund at any Huntington Bank branch or online at jennifercookememorialfund. org.

A music festival was the perfect way to celebrate Cooke's life, her friend Heather Kerr said.

"She loved coming to the Music on the Lawn concerts at the library with her daughter," Kerr said. "She would have been here today, for sure."

Cooke was a loving friend and devoted mother whose sense of humor and caring attitude brightened the lives of all who knew her, she said.

The day before the festival, Cooke's mother, daughter and her daughter's father planted flowers in a memorial garden on Oakland Avenue, across the street from the library's lawn.

Enough money was raised to purchase a bench that will be placed by the small garden, Unitt said.

"Jennifer was all about flowers. She loved them, so we thought a garden would be a nice memorial to her," said Chris Lynch, who helped coordinate the garden project with his wife, Megan.

Perennials, including coreopsis and geraniums, were planted in the memorial, he said. Cooke's family also planted sage and thyme.

The bench will be placed so that people can sit there and watch the Music on the Lawn concerts Cooke enjoyed so much, Lynch said.

The Lady of the Lake Festival provided solace to those saddened by Cooke's death, Unitt said.

"I had so many people tell me they needed something positive to focus on, something to help lift their spirits," she said.

No arrests have been made in Cooke's murder. Grandview police discovered she had been stabbed several times when they found her body in her Woodhill Drive townhome Aug. 11. Cooke had just celebrated her 35th birthday.

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