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In memoriam: Brannock ’07

Amy Louise Brannock, MSW ’07, of Durham, died on Aug. 18, 2011, after a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer.

She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Music Education in 1978. After five years teaching music and directing choruses in the Pender and Chatham County public school systems, Amy turned to the field in which she would distinguish herself over the following twenty years. In 1985 she attained a Master’s Degree in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and then accepted the directorship of the Wilmington, N.C. Arts Council. In that position she broadened the community-based arts activities there and boosted the vitality of Wilmington’s cultural community. Her success there led to her join the North Carolina State Arts Council as Director of Community Arts Development, in which she established a national reputation in developing and strengthening community- based arts institutions.

In 1993 she wed Roger Cook of Raleigh, and the couple made their home in Durham. There, she became deeply involved in the Durham Friends (Quaker) Meeting, lending her considerable talents and leadership to serve as chosen Clerk of that Meeting, and also on many of its important committees.

After a personal tragedy befell her in 2000, she felt called to move professionally from her role in public arts administration to work helping individuals damaged by trauma. This calling led her first to volunteer work with the Durham Rape Crisis Center, and then, back to school at UNC-Chapel Hill, from which she received a Master’s of Social Work degree in 2007. She quickly found a home for her talents and calling at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham, where she had employment in several positions providing psychotherapy to American servicemen and servicewomen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Her contributions to the lives of her patients were substantial, and earned acclaim from her colleagues.

After a diagnosis of, and surgery and chemotherapy for, ovarian cancer in 2001, Amy embarked upon a journey living with cancer that deeply inspired and touched the lives of all who knew her. While having to endure many many medical procedures and chemotherapy treatments over the next nine years, she never for one moment allowed her medical condition to define her, nor to limit her joy, strength, or accomplishments. She found great strength in the love of her many friends and family, and in her faith, and gave great strength to others in return. Her beauty shone brightly both from within and without.

Amy is survived by her husband Roger Cook of Durham, and her parents James and Louise Brannock of Durham.

From the News & Observer