Cover photo for Bennie June Vierling Cooke's Obituary
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1938 Bennie 2024

Bennie June Vierling Cooke

February 25, 1938 — April 6, 2024


On Saturday, April 6, 2024, Bennie June Vierling-Cooke, loving daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend lifted her voice in song joining the heavenly choir at the age of 86. Born in Gulfport, Mississippi on February 25, 1938, to Charles Benton and Katie Veldine Vierling, she precociously enjoyed her status as the middle child of five with both two older and two younger brothers and sisters. Unafraid to challenge social norms her entire life, she could be elegantly feminine to a tee or tom-boyishly shimmying up a tree. Throughout life, her smile was inviting and her laugh infectious. 

Finding her intellect, humor, spontaneity and independence endearing, George William Cooke, affectionately known as “Cookie”, requested her hand in marriage in 1957 and they began the musical duet of life together. Both seeking a degree in music at Perkinston College, they went on to be blessed with three children. Always the cool parents, their home was always filled with friends and kids enjoying music, wisdom, love, laughter, or a good meal.  

In 1970, she and Cookie settled in Macon, GA. Joining Vineville Babtist Church, she would enjoy singing in the choir for the next 42-years and continuing in service until the end. She enjoyed singing duets in church with her husband or playing piano while he sang. In 1978, the duet ended when Cookie passed away. With grace, dignity, strength, and purpose, she moved forward as a solo act assuring the lifestyle of herself and kids was maintained. She worked at Keebler Cookie Company for 26 years. She also was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star in service to her community. 

Always prioritizing faith and family, throughout her life she enjoyed being an integral part of each generation. Never losing her imagination or playful nature, she enjoyed childhood fun with grands, great-grands, and their friends. Loving travel, she enjoyed trips to Gulfport to see her family or to the mountains to enjoy a romp in the woods or find mountain stream to stick her feet in.  She also enjoyed travel to the Caribbean, to Canada and all parts in between visiting many of the great cities of America. She loved supporting local theatre and the arts and enjoyed trips to New York City to see Broadway shows, Radio City Music Hall performances and operas at Lincoln Center, seeing many of the great voices of our time including Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. With a free spirit and a song in her heart, she enjoyed all life had to offer and fully savored its simplicities and refinements. 

June was preceded in death by her husband, George; her parents, Charles B. and Katie V. Vierling; her brother, Charles “Chuck” Vierling; sister, Jeneane Self (Douglas); and nephew, Charles “Chuckie” Vierling II. She is survived by her sister, Joan Brewer (Byron); her brother, James “Jim” Vierling (Beth); children, Debra Cooke, David Cooke, and Tammie-Cooke Fetz (Tim); grandchildren, Shannon Giacoletti, Alexandra “Alex” Kelly-Reynolds (Adam), Stratton Kelly, Apryl Pickering (Stewart), Greg Fetz (Kennya), Nikki Haidys and Eric Haidys; great-grandchildren, Ethan, Reznor, Sawyer, Phoenix, Seth, Brianna, Rielynn, Gabe, Isabella, Clark, Juliet, Moses, Violet and Joseph; and many nieces and nephews. 

Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, from 6:00pm – 8:00 pm, at Riemann Family Funeral Home, 11280 Three Rivers Road, Gulfport. Graveside services will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, April 12, 2024, at Evergreen Cemetery, Gulfport.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 11, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Riemann Family Funeral Home - Gulfport

11280 Three Rivers Rd, Gulfport, MS 39503

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Graveside Service

Friday, April 12, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Evergreen Cemetery-Gulfport

28th St, Gulfport, MS 39501

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