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Marcilla "Marci" Joy Cook

December 30, 1959 March 18, 2022
Marcilla "Marci" Joy Cook
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Obituary for Marcilla "Marci" Joy Cook
In Honor of my beautiful Aunt
Written by Leah Joy Roberts
Marcilla Joy Obsitnik Cook, 62, passed away on March 18, 2022, in her home surrounded by her family.
Referred to by many as ‘Our Dear Sweet Marci’, she was the woman with the plan.
The State of Louisiana is saddened by the loss of a woman with such pride of the state that she called home. Her work in the Tourism Industry was well regarded amongst her colleagues and tourists that she came across. There simply was not a project in Vernon Parish she did not have her hands in, in some way.
Marci worked alongside John Crook at the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission for over twenty years. She loved going into the office each and every day. The atmosphere in that big white courthouse was an experience that I had the great privilege of sharing with her in my teens. I marveled at her ability to plan events with poise and even when there was a problem, she found a way to tackle and overcome it with grace.

“Marci learned the tourism industry firsthand… by attending meetings throughout the state and serving on committees. She was a graduate of the Louisiana Tourism Association. She worked with The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation as a volunteer. Marci also worked with The Vernon Arts Council. She served as Secretary for The No Man’s Land Association and The Myths and Legends Byway Association. She devoted twenty years of her professional life to the promotion of Vernon Parish as a tourism destination.” Stated John Crook, Executive Director of the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission.

Not one to take the credit for her accomplishments or the great victories of the office, she was known for her tireless and professional work in documenting and preserving Vernon Parish and Louisiana history.

Generally, when I tell someone what she did for a living, I get strange, confused looks, so the easiest way of explaining her work is “Remember that Wildflower Country ad you saw on (such, and such) tourist rack cards at the hotel you stayed at? That was her.” To which there is usually a lightbulb moment of, “Oh!” and then “Wow”. Most don’t think about who makes those or the level of pre-thought and planning that goes into the tourism industry.

Let’s not forget her many years of planning and championing the Vernon Parish MAYFEST! Festival the first weekend of May each year. This festival was truly a family business that our entire family took part in. Every year you’d see her parading through the tents, smiling and dancing to the live music as she heads to the next task at hand.
Marci was an avid reader; she loved books and was never found without one nearby. She was the most at peace with her kindle or a book. One of her biggest prides was moving the library from the downtown location to the newly built Vernon Parish Library on Nolan Trace. Her work to digitalize the microfiche, build a volunteer program and help to setup other various programs continues to this day.

Throughout my own life, she fostered my love for books, learning, art and exploration. She and her husband Jerry Cook would take me to any and every museum they possibly could. We’d participate in kite flying competitions, sandcastle building on the beaches in Biloxi, Mississippi and even trash can painting for an Earth Day festival. Some of our families most treasured memories of Marci are the simple moments, often when we’d go for a car ride with no destination in mind. We would simply start driving and discover little towns along the way, sometimes with flea markets, little cafes and museums.

She enjoyed being a tourist just as much as she enjoyed sharing what a great place her home Leesville was. She was the type of person that could spend hours observing an art piece or archeological find. She could take her time and she treasured every moment.

Marci was an avid outdoorsman. She loved hiking, kayaking and believed in taking the time to feed the ducks. She was known for being a lover of animals of all shapes and sizes, even at the risk of her own life and limb. Her greatest weaknesses were a cat or turtle that needed saving or a great cause that needed work done. She was a lifelong volunteer that wasn’t afraid of the level of work that went into supporting a cause or preserving history.
Her passion for books, education and archeology did not stop there. She and her husband worked to foster the availability of the arts and resources for learning in Vernon Parish through GalleryOneEllleven in the Historic Downtown District in Leesville, Louisiana. They were often seen together at various events. They were also avid travelers looking for new experiences. The two of them would talk endlessly, never having difficult to find something new to discuss, including the philosophy of light which happened to be one of her favorite topics.

She and her family attended the First Christian Church of Leesville for many years and were close friends of Reverend Neil Early. She especially enjoyed the bible study group and continued that study through the years.
Marci was preceded in death by her parents, William Obsitnik and Anita Obsitnik.

Those left to cherish her memory are her husband of 36 years, Jerry Lee Cook of Leesville; sister, Virgenia Obsitnik of Leesville; nieces, Leah Joy Roberts & Malinda Cook; nephew, Raymond Cook; and numerous extended family members and friends.
As a family, we are respecting Marci’s wishes and not holding a formal service. We will be discussing and planning a gathering to celebrate her life sometime in the future. We plan to notify everyone at that time.
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