December 8, 2013

Feature obituary: Liz Cook, 54, outdoorswoman, L.L. Bean catalog layout designer

She was fashionable, social and upbeat.

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Liz Cook, who worked in L.L. Bean’s creative department for 28 years and traveled across the world, fueling her passion for life and a fierce love for family and friends, died Dec. 2. She was 54.

Liz Cook of South Freeport had a passion for life.

Family photo

Mrs. Cook was a senior designer for L.L. Bean. She spent most of her career designing the layout for its catalog. Early in her career, she worked in photo art direction and product development for sleepwear and accessories. The job change gave her the opportunity to travel around the world to meet with the company’s vendors. In the late 1990s, she was tapped to assist L.L. Bean in launching its Freeport Studio line. The business phased out in 2001, and Mrs. Cook resumed her role as a catalog layout designer.

Erica Eysenbach, associate creative director for design at L.L. Bean, remembered Mrs. Cook on Friday as a woman to whom many turned for support and solutions. She said Mrs. Cook had artistic sensibility and a keen eye.

“With Liz, she had a real gift for making permanent connections with everyone,” Eysenbach said. “She was one of those people you could always count on, whether it was getting the work done or connecting people. ... She was a great mentor for designers. She was a professional. She had a lot of spunk. She had a lot of character.”

She was married to Charles Cook for 25 years. They lived in South Freeport.

On Friday, he spoke about their life together, which centered on family and friends, their dog and the outdoors.

In her early years, she spent summers on Sebago Lake with her family. Charles Cook introduced her to the ocean. He reminisced about their summers cruising along Maine’s coast.

“We would go off the beaten path and sneak into all these little coves and anchor off,” he said. “We always had our dog with us and hiked on the islands. For us, it was one of the most peaceful things you can imagine.”

Mrs. Cook had a passion for life. She was fashionable, social and upbeat. She walked her dog every morning and often did yoga and Pilates. She enjoyed hiking, boating and fishing, and embraced snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

“She bought me my first fly rod,” her husband said. “She created an animal. She could also catch a trout as good as anyone.”

It was that quiet confidence, spunk and positive attitude that sustained Mrs. Cook through the most difficult chapter of her life.

She was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer 2½ years ago. Doctors gave her four months to live. The Cooks didn’t accept that. She underwent surgery in September 2011, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. She chronicled her battle in a blog posted on CaringBridge.org. Her husband said she approached her illness with “incredible courage, grace and strength.”

On her worst days, she remained positive, he said.

“She was definitely the strongest woman I’ve ever met in my life,” her husband said. “She was a very rare individual. She was my best friend. That was the beauty of it. We loved each other immensely.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

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