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In Memory of Frank Cook
1963 - 2009

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification

      I was shocked and sad to hear that Frank Cook died on Wednesday August 19th, 2009. I have "known" Frank for the past seven or eight years via extensive email correspondence. Frank helped edit the 5th Edition of my book Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, and he used it as a guide in his plant classes around the world. Every time he would place an order for the book, he would provide a new address, "in care of" someone on the east coast or the west coast, or occassionally overseas.

The late Frank Cook identifying plants.       Frank also led online discussion groups using Botany in a Day. I enjoyed reading his emails about getting to know the plants, and I was constantly amazed to hear about his adventures as he wandered all over the world discovering new plants and meeting new people. Frank used my book more than I have, and clearly knew more about plants than I ever will. Although I never met Frank, nor spoke with him on the phone, I came to think of him as a friend.

      The odd thing is that, having never met Frank, I didn't even know what he looked like. Somehow I imagined him of average build, clean cut, with sharp facial features. Having recently seen his photos and online video clips, he might be better described as a gentle giant (6' 3"), with waist-length dreadlocks and a beard. Yet, the fact that I never met Frank didn't make him any less a friend. I think of Frank as a bit like a grape vine, reaching out this way and that way with his tendrils, making connections with people all over the planet. I was one of those connections, and through Frank's correspondence, I felt somehow connected through him to other people he met in his travels, as well as the plant people he discovered along the way. I also connected with his globe-trotting wanderlust in a vicarious way via his letters. My own life is very tied down with my businesses, projects, and family commitments, and I somehow felt freer just knowing that Frank was out there, exploring the world and getting to know the plant people. I will greatly miss Frank's presence, his correspondence, and his wandering spirit.

--Thomas J. Elpel

Video Clips of Frank Cook

Frank Cook Memorial by Sandor Katz

Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

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