54-year-old dental hygienist dies unexpectedly

A 54-year-old dental hygienist in Iowa recently collapsed and died while hiking the Colorado National Monument Trail in Grand Junction while on vacation with family, according to a press release dated June 12 from the U.S. National Park Service.

Marcia Cook. Image courtesy of Murdoch Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.Marcia Cook. Image courtesy of Murdoch Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.

Marcia Cook of Cedar Rapids, IA, was pronounced dead at the scene on the afternoon of June 10 after family and first responders performed CPR, according to the release. Cook was hiking at about 2:30 p.m. in excessive heat. During that week, daytime temperatures at the Colorado National Monument exceeded 90 degrees.

To reduce the risk of heat exposure in hot weather, people should plan to hike before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. The Mesa County Coroner's Office will investigate Cook's death and determine its cause and manner, according to the release.

In addition to being a mother and grandmother, Cook worked as a hygienist at Horton Dental in Cedar Rapids. She was known for her work ethic, heart of gold, energy, and "love of comfy blankets," according to her obituary.

In 1989, Cook enlisted in the National Guard, and during that time, she was named Soldier of the Month and Soldier of the Year, according to her obituary.

Many people, including patients, shared their kind thoughts about Cook's passing on her tribute wall.

Kelley Megonigle wrote that she and her family were deeply saddened by her death, noting they had gotten to know her during the years she was their hygienist.

"We loved the way she cleaned our teeth! She was so excited about this trip, looking forward to taking the train and spending time with her son and sister. So very sad. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. God bless," Megonigle wrote.

Additionally, Paula Macku offered her condolences, writing "Thoughts and Prayers to the family. She was always so happy and had a contagious smile. Sweet personality."

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