Virginia Loring Cooke (Ginny), 83, of Woonsocket, died suddenly at home, February 17, 2020. She was born in Boston and was the only child of the late Benjamin Franklin Cooke and the late Gladys Hood Cooke.
At 14, Ginny began dancing professionally at local Boston supper clubs on weekends and during school vacations. As she liked to say, “she was a school girl by day and a show girl by night.” When she graduated from Jamaica Plain, MA high school in 1954, she went on the road fulltime, entertaining in supper clubs and on cruise ships and at military bases across the United States and Canada. Along the way, she expanded her repertoire adding singing to her dancing skills. She worked with actress Dorothy Lamour, Comedians Totie Fields and Norm Crosby, as well as The Four Aces, among others. Ginny credited the guidance of her older “show biz” family with helping her, a young woman, avoid the pitfalls inherent in the entertainment world.
In 1990, she went to work as a tour manager for Collette Travel in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Later she went to work for other tour operators including Paragon Tours. Most recently she worked as a Boston city guide for arriving cruise ship passengers. Ginny continued to sing and dance at local venues until she was 80. In 2016, she had a small role in the film, Manchester By The Sea. Although Ginny never married nor had children, she felt she’d had a very full and rewarding life. Recently, she fulfilled a life-long dream, traveling to Scandinavia to learn more of her ancestry.
Ginny was a member of the Wayside Inn Chapter of the (DAR) Daughters of the American Revolution and the Greater Boston Tour Guide Association.
Ginny had a life-long friendship with Charlie Lake who was Dizzy Gillespie’s road manager. With Lake, she traveled the jazz circuit throughout the world. In addition to Lake, she leaves her dear cousins, Marilyn McKenney and her daughter Lauren McKenney of Marblehead, Paul and Anita Japp of Uncasville, CT, as well as her devoted friend Cindy Battistelli of Danbury, CT.
Ginny’s funeral will be held on Thursday, March 12, 2020, visitation at 10 AM, followed by an 11 AM service in the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main Street, Woonsocket, RI. She will be interred beside her parents at Beechbrook Cemetery, 40 Essex Ave., Gloucester MA. Graveside service will begin at 2:30 PM.
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