Peggy Ann Crispen Cook Inducted 1998 - Class of 1952
Peggy Ann Crispin Cook's road from WHS to her current home in Coconut Grove, Florida is paved with fascinating career experiences; achievement; travel; pride in family; and memories...memories...memories...
Peggy attended Stickney and Hamilton Elementary Schools. She grew up within walking distance of Woodward High, in a "middle class, neat community" on Jeanette Avenue.
Highlights of Peggy's time at WHS include the fun times, as well as the encouragement she received to pursue a career in the field of court reporting. Peggy remembers the noon-time lunch hours, when she and her friends watched movies as they ate their lunches brought from home. Peggy's best friends included her brothers and sisters-Betty, Donna, Sonja, Linda, Garry and Lyle Crispin.
The most important thing that happened to Peggy in high school was her senior state aptitude test,
after which a state counselor informed her of the results. Because of her manual dexterity and grade point average, he encouraged her to consider entering the field of court reporting. "I took his advice and have enjoyed a brilliant career, recognized as being one of the outstanding court reporters in the United States, with one of the biggest firms in Miami, Florida."
After graduating third in her senior class, Peggy made her dreams come true by saving $200 during the summer following her graduation. She bought a one-way ticket to Chicago, where she enrolled in Northwestern University’s court reporting program. She was accepted as a "provisional student" because she did not meet all the admission requirements. Peggy completed the 2 year program in 9 months and become a court reporter at the "ripe age of 18," after working her way through school as a waitress. "One of my first assignments was working on the investigation of the questionable death of Montgomery Ward Thome. He was the heir to the Montgomery Ward fortune. This took me from the lowliest hovels in Chicago to the most astonishing mansions on the lakefront."
Peggy moved to Miami in 1958, where she worked on cases of international fame, the most famous of which was the Candy Mosler murder, which attracted press from around the world! Peggy started her own reporting firm, Peggy Ann Cook & Associates, Inc., in the late 70's. It grew into one of the largest reporting firms in Miami. Peggy's assignments took her around the world as she performed a unique form of court reporting-Gregg shorthand. Many countries did not allow court reporters to work in their country, but Peggy would often gain access by passing as a secretary, with her pen and pads. This allowed her to extract information, which would not have otherwise been divulged to interrogators.
Peggy is the last person in the United States to hold the National Shorthand Reporters Certificate of Merit, which qualified her to do the extraordinary type of reporting which she performed-shorthand writing. She was tested with accuracy at the dictation speed of 260 words per minute. In1995, the National Court Reporters Association voted her one of the outstanding court reporters in the United States. Peggy recently sold her business and can now enjoy the fruits of her professional success.
With great sincerity, Peggy states that she considers each and everyone of her WHS teachers to be her favorites. "They gave me the encouragement to excel; positive reinforcement; and a high quality of teaching; without which I could not have reached my present status." In the words of Amie Miller, Dean of Girls in 1952, "you have learned high standards of responsibility to God and man."
Peggy has many interests, including ballet; sailing; growing orchids; traveling; participating in groups involving care of abused and neglected children; working out at the gym; attending church; and spending time with her family. Peggy has been a champion Arabian horse rider and has competed in ballroom dancing and sailboat racing. In 1990, Peggy visited the ruins at Pompeii and felt the presence of Mr. Phipps, one of her teachers at Woodward, who had instilled an interest in history in his students. "I wondered if Mr. Phipps was ever able to travel to these ancient sites. As a senior at Woodward, never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would actually be visiting these faraway places."
Peggy has given back to her community by sponsoring attendance of handicapped and underprivileged children at classical ballets. She also funds an annual "Christmas Tree & Snow Day Party," which was recently attended by 95 children.
Peggy was married for 17 years and has 3 children-Randy Cook, Cheryl Cook and Dr. Patricia Cook. Her five grandchildren-Jonathan, Brittney, Marie, Kyle and Dylan range in age from 5 to 15 years.
The individual who nominated Peggy as a candidate for induction into the WHS Hall of Fame stated that "Peggy exemplifies the very standards and qualifications our previous inductees have stood for." Peggy's reaction to her selection was excitement. "I am thrilled and very honored. I still find it difficult to believe I am worthy of this honor, with so many extraordinary graduates of Woodward." Peggy Ann Crispen Cook's story is one of an individual who worked hard and pursued her dream. It is a story that never grows old. She is a role model for today's Woodward High School students.