Tara E. Cook

December 18, 1970May 31, 2021

On May 31, 2021, Tara Elizabeth Cook passed away peacefully with the love of her family surrounding her at the age of 50. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Joseph and Edna (Neubert) Mach. She graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1988 and credits Poly with instilling in her a love of academic pursuits. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1995, she served as an Army signal officer for 5 years, deploying to both Kuwait and Bosnia. It was in the Army that she met the love of her life, Ken, who she married in 1998. She graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2006 and completed her residency training in neurology in 2010 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It was while living in Iowa that she discovered her love of long-distance bicycle touring, and in particular, the annual bicycle ride across Iowa, RAGBRAI. Cycling became her passion along with a love of hiking, camping and being outdoors. Following residency training, she served as a neurologist and flight surgeon in the Air Force. In 2016, she returned to training, completing a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and a Master's Degree in Medical Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. She remained at UPMC as faculty of the Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics where she was able to practice medicine the way she felt all patients should be treated, from a whole-person perspective while developing courses to teach communication skills to neurologists.

Tara is preceded in death by her father Joseph, and is survived by her husband Ken, mother Edna, sister Jennifer, Niece Charlotte, and half-siblings Joe and Celeste as well as step-children Melissa (Cook) Rarick and Michael Cook.

In Lieu of Flowers, we request Memorial donations be made to the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Foundation at to allow them to continue to educate and inspire the next generation of scholars.

A celebration of life will be scheduled at a future date.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Tara E. Cook

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Enrique Leira

July 8, 2021

I had the pleasure of working with Tara while she was a neurology resident at the University of Iowa. She was a straightforward and very conscientious physician, and a true advocate for her patients. She will be sorely miss by colleagues and patients.

Enrique Leira MD
Iowa City, Iowa

Carlos Phillips

June 30, 2021

I'm so sorry to hear this news. I served in the Aor Force with Tara at Wright Patterson in Ohio. I'm sending prayers to her family.

Robert Clark

June 29, 2021

I had the pleasure of knowing Tara at West Point while we were both cadets. I am so happy to read about the wonderful achievements she accomplished after graduation. I knew she had an interest in medicine and I never knew that she was able to so much. She was always as straight as an arrow when I knew her and am deeply saddened that she was taken so soon. Godspeed!

James & Margie Chitwood

June 7, 2021

Dear Kenneth,
We are so sorry for your loss. We know you and Tara had wonderful marriage and love for each other. We are and will continue to pray for you as you build your life now. Remember the Lord is walking with you and will be there forever. Lean on Him. Our church family are praying for you also. Mrs Brenda Moon remembers you and asked to let you know how sorry she is and sends her care and prayers. Kenneth, you have always been special to us and we have always loved you and still do. God bless you and keep you in His loving arms. Love, James and Margie

Tony Moffa

June 5, 2021

I’m sorry to hear this.. I know Tara and you were very Close and may she rest in peace, The Family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Take Care
Tony Moffa

Sheila Mennen

June 4, 2021

I worked with Tara in the EMG Lab at Iowa. She was great to work with and a great resident. She often talked about her bike rides and outside adventures which I followed on Facebook. You will be dearly missed.

Jay Butler

June 4, 2021

I attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute with Tara and am a member of the class of '88. While I didn't follow much of Tara's life after graduating from Poly, I knew her then as giving, kind, sweet, caring, and passionate about learning. Those qualities (present then) were obviously ingrained in her soul and they served her, and the many others who came to know her, well.

Linda Krug

June 3, 2021

Fly high with the angels Tara. You definitely earned your wings. We need more people in the world just like you. We will meet again some day so have your bike & helmet ready.
Linda & Dan Krug

Marcus Ponce de Leon

June 3, 2021

I am so very sorry for your loss. Tara and I were classmates at West Point. I admired her dedication and thoughtfulness and saw in her a maturity older than we were. Years later, I was so happy to hear that she chose medicine and then overjoyed to know that she would be a fellow neurologist. I saw her a few times at conferences. Her smile and warmth were as familiar as when we were kids in school. My prayers are with you and your family. I hope these small insights bring you some measure of comfort.

Ilana Stol

June 3, 2021

My heart is heavy to hear this news. Tara was one of my first palliative care attendings during my fellowship at UPMC and I could not have been luckier. She had a unique combination of traits which are rare to find in a single person: she was direct and intentional, with an acute attention to detail, empathy for patients, and an obvious passion for education. I looked forward to debriefing family meetings with Tara because she always picked up on things I hadn't considered and challenged me to think critically about my communication skills. On top of all of this, she was such a humble and kind person who was easy to talk to on a non professional level. I will always remember our chats fondly. Sending my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to her family. Tara will be missed and remembered by so many.