Alpha-1 Foundation remembers Alpha A. Curts Cooke

“Curts was an active member of the Alpha-1 Foundation’s development committee for nearly 10 years. His diagnosis with Alpha-1 empowered him to get involved in our fundraising efforts and in our research agenda to find a cure for Alpha-1. Curts was a good friend to the Alpha-1 community who always supported our mission, and I will truly miss our interactions on the committees that we worked on together,” stated Ken Irvine, Treasurer of the Alpha-1 Foundation Board of Directors and Chair of the Development Committee.

A. Curts Cooke, 85, Glen Rock, NJ, formerly of Upper Saddle River, passed away Sunday, July 10, 2022, peacefully at home with his family by his side. Born and raised in Clifton, NJ to Albert C. and Gertrude (Wenting) Cooke. Curts graduated from Lehigh University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Upon graduation, he started his career with Price Waterhouse and became a CPA, he was with Price Waterhouse for ten years. He served his country by volunteering in the Army Reserves. After leaving Price Waterhouse he was with General Foods in various finance rolls for five years. He then went to Beecham Pharmaceuticals, holding various executive positions where he covered the Western Hemisphere and Australia from 1973 to 1982. In 1982 he joined Russ Berrie & Company as their V.P of Finance and Administration. In 1984 he was responsible for taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange and later rose to the position of President and COO. Following his retirement from RUSS in 1998 he worked as a consultant and provided other services to the company, Mr. Berrie and subsequently Mrs. Angelica Berrie until 2011. While working for Price Waterhouse Curts met his wife Geraldine (Campbell) also of Clifton and were married for 49 years and had four sons. Curts and Gerry spent many wonderful years travelling together before her passing in 2009. Curts had very extensive involvement in community organizations such as the Bergen County Council of The Boy Scouts of America, and Tomorrow’s Children. He was a member of the Board of Education of Upper Saddle River NJ School District, a Trustee of the Upper Saddle River Public Library, a Trustee of Bergen Highland United Methodist Church in Upper Saddle River, Director of the Upper Saddle River Baseball Association, and a member of the Saddle River Valley Lions Club.

After raising his four sons he was blessed with the great joy of ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Some of his favorite things were playing golf and the times he spent at the lake house in the Poconos with his wife, Gerry, their sons, and grandchildren. At the time of his death, he was married to Joan Brancato-Cooke for ten happy years, and they travelled the world together and enjoyed playing bridge and being with family and friends. She will greatly miss the wonderful years they spent together as best friends and soulmates. He was a great, kind, caring, amazing man and the best husband anyone could want. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Curts is survived by his wife Joan, sons (and their wives) Al (Kathy), David (Sara), Jeff (Tia), Ken (Veronica) and grandchildren Jeffrey, Merrit, Danny, Hallie, Ryan, Alison, Emily, Abigail, Jordan and Alyssa and great-granddaughter Stella as well as Joan’s daughters Marie Peters-Barry, Virginia DuDeck and his beloved cousins Emine Sermet and Dorothy Decker. A Memorial Service will be held on August 20th at 11AM at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 169 Fairmount Rd. Ridgewood, NJ. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the: Alpha-1 Foundation by visiting or by mailing to the following address: Alpha-1 Foundation, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33134 Or St. Elizabeth’s Church.

Link to full obituary.