In Memoriam – Diane “Cookie” Garey

Her name was Diane but those who knew her from her earlier life called her Cookie. She was sweet but also a very tough Cookie, so it fit her.

She survived 12 years of Catholic parochial school and then went to the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis. She said she wanted to go to the Jewish hospital because she was guaranteed there would be no nuns.

While she was working as a nurse she went to night school at the U of Missouri in St. Louis and discovered her love of English and American literature. After working for several years as a nurse she moved to Massachusetts to be housemates with her friend Jackie Hayden, with whom she’d gone to both high school and nursing school. It’s a long story, but I was planning on being a housemate of Jackie’s too, but Jackie moved out, and Cookie and I moved in at about the same time. After four days in the house together we couldn’t decide who should get the master bedroom, so we decided to share it. We’ve been together ever since. That was almost forty-three years ago.

Cookie started working as a political organizer, then in advertising, then as a grant writer at UMass. All that writing and grant work served her well when she joined me as a beginning filmmaker. At first, we were both producers and directors, but one day, when our editor wasn’t available, Cookie took on some of the editing work. On our next film, we decided she should take a stab at editing the whole thing and if it didn’t work out, we could hire someone. That film was nominated for an Academy Award, so I guess it worked out. After that she edited almost all of our films until she retired five years ago.

She had an amazing ability to concentrate, read voluminously, write beautifully, and think creatively. She was disciplined and smart, but above all caring and loving. We came from very different backgrounds, but we somehow hit it off. When we had our daughter Katya, seven years after getting together, she managed to be a fantastic and committed mother, as well as a brilliant filmmaker. Our time together was magical and blessed. I will miss her beyond measure.

She is survived by her husband Larry Hott, her daughter Katya Hott and son-in-law Eddie Yoo, grandsons Juni Yoo and Taemin Yoo, and siblings Carol Prater, Mickey Garey, Tony Garey, and Patrick Garey.