Cook was born January 16, 1899. Cook served on the USS Finland during World
War I and received two medals of honor earlier this year. The Good Conduct
Medal and the World War II Victory Medal were awarded to Cook in August
by fellow war veterans Bill Boyer, Bob Gilmore, Lloyd Olds and Richard Sloniker
(pictured). The men made numerous phone calls and letters to obtain the
medals from Washington D.C.
many positions in his life including electrician, chauffeur and mill worker.
He worked in a machine shop for 20 years, first as a drill press operator,
and eventually working his way to set-up manager.
his wife, Myrl Hodson, later in life. The couple never had children. They
moved to Brookings in 1962. Cook outlived his wife, who died in 1986.
He was an
accomplished artist, creating portraits from rock inlay with an art form
called intarsia. He won several awards throughout the years for his artwork.
pastor of Cooks church, the First Baptist Community Church, said, There
was never a dull moment with Al. He was so full of life experiences; he
really lived his life. He had a witty sense of humor, and was the most positive
guy Ive ever met.
. . . . . .
He is remembered
as a very giving person by his friend, Shane Alcorn. Alcorn knew Cook since
he was 9 years old. If he knew somebody had an interest in something, he'd
give it to them if he had it, Alcorn said. He recalled that when he was
12 he was collecting pennies, and Cook gave him his penny collection. The
collection was a complete set, with coins dating from 1900 to 1972. Cook
also gave Alcorn an original telegram he sent to his mother as a teenager
in World War I. It read: Im here in France. Im safe going to the front lines
tomorrow. Al was awesome, Alcorn said. He never said a bad thing about anybody,
and he was always thankful for what he had. When you would ask him how things
were going, hed say, real good, real good. Alcorn said Cook loved ships.
He also loved to go to the library and read. Cook grew exotic plants, lemon
trees and orchids in his greenhouse.
He was one
of the first people to place a transcontinental phone call across the United
States because he was an electrician and worked for the phone company.
and sea-faring tales prompted Alcorn to visit the Eastern seaboard towns
that Cook grew up in. Im sure going to miss him, he said. Al Cook, died
Saturday January 5, 2002, just 11 days short of his birthday. He was 102.