OBIT: Mary Cook Elliott Dies

Elliott was a member of the pioneering Cook family, which settled along Del Obispo Street and started the local Presbyterian church.

Mary Margaret Cook Elliott, 84, descendant of two pioneer Orange County families, died at home Thursday after earlier suffering a major stroke. 

As a young girl, Mary lived above the Cook family ranch house adjacent to what is now Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano. The house below was built later. Part of the original Cook ranch is now occupied by the Vermuelen Center (, , etc.), Villa Del Obispo retirement homes and and .

In September 1916, a small group, headed by Mary’s mother Margaret Day Cook and others, organized the first Sunday School in San Juan Capistrano, which became the nucleus of what today is Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano, founded as the first protestant church in south Orange County in 1919.

Her parents donated the land for the Presbyterian Church to be built.

Mary married Rev. Jerry Elliott, a Presbyterian pastor. Jerry and Mary jointly nurtured congregations around the United States until their retirement, when they moved back to San Juan Capistrano, taking up residence on Captain’s Hill, where they had a view of her ancestral home.

Mary will be buried with her ancestors in Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana. She is survived by her husband, Jerry; son, Jim (Sue); daughter, Peggy (Hugo), and granddaughters Rachael, Mandy and Andrea.

A memorial service will be held at  2 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Community Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Community Presbyterian Church in San Juan Capistrano or Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.


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