Katherine Cosandey Snook

Katherine Cosandey Snook –– a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother –– passed away peacefully August 10 at her Alpine home surrounded by family. Katherine was 92 and would have celebrated 72 years of marriage with Don on August 14. Her life was commemorated at a ceremony on August 20 at Don and Katherine’s house. 

Katherine Marie Cosandey was born in Duluth, Minnesota on April 29, 1929, to Evelyn Graber, a social worker and music teacher, and Charles Cosandey, who had emigrated from Switzerland as a teenager and taught physics and electrical engineering. She spent much of her young life in Minneapolis, living with her mother at her grandparents’ home. 

Katherine attended Grinnell College in Iowa, where she pursued a degree in American studies and met her husband-to-be, Don, in the choir. After they married, the couple moved to Washington D.C., where Don attended graduate school and Katherine finished her degree at George Washington University. They spent the following 18 years in Syria and Libya, where Don worked for the State Department and Esso Middle East. Katherine stayed at home to raise their three daughters. She was known for organizing delightful outings to natural and cultural sites, and for throwing great parties –– wearing glamorous gowns she had sewn –– featuring performances by their singing groups, delicious midnight dinners, literary readings and dancing.

In 1969, following Gaddafi’s coup d’état in Libya, the family moved to Westport, Connecticut, where Katherine and Don spent the next 46 years. Don commuted daily to his Exxon job in New York City, while Katherine managed their home and continued to support and encourage their daughters. She worked part time and volunteered at several local organizations, including the Unitarian Church, the library, the arts council, the historical society and the Audubon Society. She also supported social justice causes, marching in Washington several times. Katherine kept active and in shape with yoga. With her husband, she enjoyed hikes and picnics, singing in several church choirs and other community singing groups, and traveling the globe to visit natural and cultural sites and their far-flung family.

In 2016, Katherine and Don moved to Alpine, Texas, to live next to their daughter Helen and family. They enjoyed visits to Big Bend area parks, Cowboys baseball games, their grandson’s high school events, and gatherings of family and friends at their home.

Surviving family members include husband Don Snook (Alpine, Texas); their three daughters, Laura Snook and husband Jonathan Kingdon (Oxford, England and Rome, Italy), Ann Snook (Bacalar, Mexico), and Helen Snook and her husband Steve Stratakos (Alpine, Texas); Ann and Hans van Kooijk’s daughters, Michèle van Kooijk and husband Sergio Vargas Pérez (Miami, Florida) and Paola van Kooijk and partner David Castillo García (Cancun, Mexico); and Helen and Steve’s sons Johnny Snook Stratakos and wife India Shehan Stratakos (Asheville, NC), and Paul Snook Stratakos (Albuquerque, New Mexico). Katherine had no siblings, but has Graber (Kokatnur) and Cosandey (Fligner) cousins in the U.S. and in Switzerland.

We are thankful to all the kind caregivers who assisted Katherine in her last years here, including the sweet Alpine women we employed, and the family members (loving grandsons, granddaughters, daughters, nephew and cousin) and friends from near and far.

Katherine’s life is commemorated on a gravestone in Derby, Iowa, where other members of the Snook family are buried. Notes for Katherine’s family may be sent to 47040 State Highway 118, Alpine, TX  79830.