David Cooke, husband of Kent mayor, found dead of suicide

David Cooke, the husband of Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, died Wednesday evening at the couple's East Hill home, Kent Police said Thursday, describing the death as a suicide. He was 68.

Suzette Cooke called 911 at 6:12 p.m. Wednesday, said Kent Police Chief Steve Strachan. Kent Fire and Police officials responded to the couple's home and found David Cooke deceased at the scene.

Investigators from the King County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a suicide, Strachan said. Cooke died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Suicide has affected many of our families, and this week it affected Mayor Cooke's family," said Strachan, in a Thursday e-mail. "We are all deeply saddened and our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers are with Suzette."

Suzette Cooke said in an e-mail that she has received a great deal of support.

"I am very grateful for the tremendous support that I have felt from my family, our city employees, and the community during this very difficult time," she said in an e-mail Thursday.

City Council President Debbie Raplee will serve as mayor pro-tem in Cooke's absence to handle the duties of the mayor.

"We are all very sad," Raplee said in a phone interview Thursday on behalf of the seven-member City Council. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Suzette's and Dave's family at this time."

Michelle Witham, city spokeswoman, said she was unsure when Cooke might return to work.

"Knowing her personality, we expect it will be sooner rather than later," Witham said. "She will be ready to get back in the swing of things."

A memorial service for David Cooke will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Kent Covenant Church, 12010 S.E. 240th St., on the East Hill.

Suzette Cooke is running this year for her second, four-year term as mayor. Voters elected her as mayor in 2005.

David Cooke was president of ESP Printing Inc., of Kent. He and Suzette have owned and operated the commercial printing company for 26 years.

David Cooke was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to English immigrants Cyril and Doreen Cooke. He immigrated in 1970 to Kent to work as the circulation manager at Fournier Newspapers in Kent, and later became the general manager. He became owner of ESP Printing in 1983 and helped the company grow from four employees to more than 60 employees.

Outside of work, David Cooke enjoyed fishing, boating, golfing, duck hunting and horse racing. For more than 20 years, he coached, sponsored and pitched for a Kent men's slow pitch softball team.

He also served as president of the Meridian-Kent Kiwanis Club and as a member of the city's citizen advisory committee for development of the ShoWare Center.

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