After a life of great adventure, nationally recognized poet Pearl Newton Rook passed away on March 18, 2019, just a few days shy of her 96th birthday. Predeceased by her husband Robert Chittenden in 1945 and husband Douglas Lee Rook in 1995, Pearl also lost her son Douglas, Jr. in 2003. She is survived by her daughters Pamela Martin and Sandra Cruz, thirteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Although her early life came with tragedy, Pearl overcame the sudden loss of her young husband Robert in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge on the date of what would have been their second wedding anniversary. The beloved poet went on to marry again, have three children, and great accomplishments.
A poet with five published books of poetry, Pearl had been a member of the National League of American Pen Women, Central New York Branch, up until her death. She served as President of the Branch in New York State. For many years, Pearl served as poetry editor at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
In recent years, she helped sponsor the CNY Branch poetry anthology In the Company of Women. Pearl always had an eye for the aesthetic, but she did not start writing poetry until after attending William Smith College through a life-long learning program for adult students. She claimed her poetry was inspired by students, most notably Pen Woman Irene Latta. The title of her first poetry book was Shifting Sands, which was followed by Hidden Universe. She and her husband Douglas wrote Sound of Thought together. In 1988, Pearl was awarded the Golden Medallion for winning the Australian International Poetry competition.
In addition to her writing and editing, Pearl was a fine pianist, an avid boater with a camp in Sodus Bay where she spent 36 summers. She had also learned to fly a plane like the true pioneer she was.