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Activist, artist, minister Mary Lou Cook dies in Santa Fe

SANTA FE, N.M. — Mary Lou Cook – peace activist, artist, minister, writer, founder of the Santa Living Treasures program and beloved local icon in the City Different – died Monday morning, according to a close friend.

Cook was 95 and passed away at the Beehive retirement home on Airport Road.

Cook was a native of Chicago who lived around the Midwest until moving to Santa Fe with her family in 1969.

Often wearing her trademark distinctive hats, she was a regular feature at peace gatherings and other places where public affairs were discussed and decided upon. She served as New Mexico campaign manager for the presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

In another role, she was a “wedding meister,” performing numerous weddings and commitment ceremonies as a minister in the Eternal Life Church. Cook, a calligrapher, was one of the founding artists at Shidoni Foundary in Tesuque; a co-founder of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Watch New Mexico; and the first woman to serve as a bank director in Santa Fe, at United Southwest Bank.