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Gus "Oren" and Iva Cook

Oren and Iva, about 1921

Oren and Iva, 1975

Oren and Helen (first wife)

Helen Kohler or Kochler - Oren's First Wife

After many years of searching we finally found the family of Helen - Gus Oren Cook's first wife who died shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Helen Cook.  Her name was Helen Kohler or Kochler (spelled different ways in census and marriage records).  Her parents were Gustav Christ Kohler/Kochler and Marie.  Both of them were born in Germany.  Helen had two sisters:  Emma (b. Feb. 24, 1875 in Zuikan, Germany) and Freida (b. abt. 1882 in Germany.  Emma married Eli Garner and had two sons: Leon and Frantz.  Helen Kohler/Kochler was born about 1896 in Baker, Oregon.  She married Gus Oren Cook April 8, 1917 in Washington Co, Oregon.  She died June 10, 1919 in Baker Co, Oregon.  Their daughter, Helen Cook, was sent to live with relatives in California until Gus Oren remarried to Iva Lena Cook in 1921, Baker Co, Oregon.  She then was brought back to Baker Co to be raised by her father and Iva.  Gus Oren Cook was also located in the 1920 census living in Portland, Multnomah Co, Oregon.  He was a lodger working in a flour mill.  His daughter, Betty Cook Branson, recalls that he did live in Portland before she was born and he drove a taxi cab - she has photos of him driving the cab.  Betty also remembers going to Grants Pass, Oregon when she was about 17 to visit Emma Garner, the sister of Helen.

Gustav and Marie Kohler/Kochler were living in Baker, Baker Co, Oregon in the 1900 and 1910 census where it was learned that they immigrated from Germany in the year 1885.  Gustav was a shoemaker who owned his own shop.

Photos of Cook Children

Gus "Oren" and Iva were married in 1921 in Baker, Or. Oren's first wife, Helen, died shortly after the birth of their daughter, Helen Dorothea. Iva was helping Oren take care of his wife during her illness, and that is how they met. When they married, young Helen became their child, and was raised along with their own two children, Margaret and Betty. At the time of their marriage, Oren was working as a blacksmith. Later, he opened the first root beer stand in Baker and then sold it to move his family to Portland where he worked in several different positions, including truck driver.

Interesting note: When they married, both of them had the same last name. They researched their families and discovered they were not related.




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