Three generations of Berrien County natives succeed in medical school

Published 1:27 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Doctors Weldon, Ian and Jim Cooke

Doctors Weldon, Ian and Jim Cooke

Recently, Dr. Weldon Cooke and his son, Dr. James Cooke, attended the Founders’ Day Convocation, the official start of the new academic year at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

During the ceremony, Ian Cooke, Dr. Weldon’s grandson (Jim’s son), along with his first-year classmates, accepted their first white coats as an initiation into the profession of medicine.

Dr. Weldon graduated from Northwestern University Medical School (NUMS) with the Class of 1952, took his internship at Cook County Hospital and then a year of residency in orthopedics.

Dr. Weldon was at the old County Hospital in Berrien Center from 1954 to 1955 as a staff physician. In 1959, he returned to the County Hospital as medical director and chief of surgery.

When he retired from surgery in Berrien Center, Michigan, he moved to Michigan City, where he has been for the last 30 years. He bought a former Brown’s Chicken location and expanded it into a Med Watch – an ambulatory urgent care center which he directed for the better part of 15 years.

He then retired for a second time but eventually started a general practice at the Woodland Healthcare Surgicenter campus on 400 North. He practices the gamut of family medicine and now considers his subspecialty “addiction medicine.”

He believes he has touched in some way the lives of at least 300 to 400 patients who have been hopelessly (and possibly helplessly) addicted to primarily to heroin and pain medication. He also assists in leading narcotics anonymous meetings Sunday evenings at Franciscan St. Anthony Health.

Dr. James Cooke graduated from Berrien Springs High School in 1975 before he was accepted at NUMS where he graduated in 1982 in the Honors Med program. While an undergraduate at Northwestern, he took a course in sailing.

After graduation from the medical school, Jim went into an anesthesia residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. Later he joined the faculty at Stanford University. Currently he is on staff at the Atlanta VA Medican Center and is a professor at Emory University.

Grandson Ian Cooke was educated at Westminster Academy in Atlanta where, among other things, he won fourth place in Georgia State wrestling in the 145-pound weight class as a senior. He went on to Emory University where he majored in chemistry and Latin American Studies. After graduation, he was accepted by several medical schools but chose Northwestern University as he said, “because of its reputation.” It is not for certain that his elders had anything to do with it. In addition to a medical degree, he will be working toward his master’s degree in public health.