Gary Cook / 1948-2009

Published 10:51am Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Gary Cook
Gary Cook

Gary Cook, 60, formerly of Niles, died on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009, following an illness.
Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at First Baptist Church, Niles with Pastor Jim Wing of the church and the Rev. David Sutter of Kern Road mennonite Church, officiating.

Interment will be at a later date at Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles.

The family will receive friends and relatives at the church’s fellowship hall immediately following the service.

He was born on Nov. 5, 1948, in Allegan, to Charles Willis and Viriginia M. (Rodgers) Cook.

He graduated from Niles High School in 1966 and lived in Niles most of his life.
He was self-employed as an electronics repair technician and was a member of the International Society of Certified Electronic Technicians.

He attended Hope College, Holland and Ferris State University, Big Rapids and earned the bachelor’s degree from Indiana University South Bend.

He was an athlete, winning a wrestling championship for his weight division in his high school conference and was a collegiate state champ. he ran in marathons and greater distances throughout his life.

He was active in a long list of political organizations, supporting programs for youth such as Big Brother/Big Brothers and Boy Scouts, health associations, such as Riley’s Children’s Hospital and Doctors Without Borders, native American projects, such as the Cheyenne River Youth & Cultural Center and political interests including the campaigns of the U.S. Presidential candidates and local office candidates.

He was a former member of the Niles Optimist Club and First Baptist Church of Niles. In more recent years, he had attended the Kern Road mennonite Church and First Brethren Church, both of South Bend, Ind.

He was married for several years to the former Leslie Steiner, who died in 1994.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Moonie Cook, who died in 1979.
Surviving family includes his daughter, Tracee L. Cook of Niles; granddaughter, Payton Yarbrough; sisters, Charlene Dalenberg of Saint Joseph and Alana (jesse) Madrigal of Austin, Texas; aunts, Gloria Shunkwiler of Berrien Springs and Kathy Rodgers of Niles and an uncle, Tom Rodgers of Edwardsburg.

Memorial contributions may be made to the donor’s choice.

Arrangements were by Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles.

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