Grafton H. ‘Grif’ Cook II / 1930-2009

Published 9:53 am Monday, August 10, 2009

Grafton H. ‘Grif’ Cook Jr., 79, of Sumnerville, passed away at his home on Friday, Aug. 7, 2009, after an extended illness.

McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home of Dowagiac will be handling funeral arrangements. The viewing will be at the Cook’s home, 60736 Wood Road, Niles, today, Monday, Aug. 10, from 2 to 4 and from 6 to 8 p.m.

The funeral will be at the Old Rugged Cross Church on the Corner of Vermont and Kansas streets in the village of Pokagon on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m.

Interment will occur at the Sumnerville Cemetery.

Masonic rites will be rendered by Peninsular Lodge 10 of F and A M at the graveside.

Grafton was the son of Katherine W. and Grafton H. Cook and was born Aug. 4, 1930, in Niles.

He was a husband, father, grandfather, genealogist, historian, collector, and lumber wholesaler.

He is survived by his wife Barbara and children: Grafton (Anne) of Fayette, Mo., David (Julie) of Dowagiac, Katherine of St. Joseph, John of Nashville, Tenn., and James (Kathleen) Lawlor of Guntersville, Ala.

Grif owned and operated Cook Lumber Co. Inc. of Dowagiac, a hardwood lumber and dimension brokerage as well as several allied businesses during his 37-year career and retired in 1992.

Grif attended Washington and Lee University, graduated from Southwestern Michigan College and Western Michigan University with a bachelor of arts.

Grif served for six years on the Dowagiac City Council.

In addition, he served as president of the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association, chaired the Pokagon Township Cemetery Board, was vice president of the Cass District Library Board, National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board, Old Rugged Cross Foundation and SMC Museum Advisory Committee.

He was a member of Masonic Order, Sons of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Wars and the Mayflower Society.

For the past year Grif enjoyed researching and writing a series of articles for the Dowagiac Masonic Lodge on early Masons in southwestern Michigan.

Grif is a lifelong student of history and has extensively collected firearms and edged weapons.

Since the late 1950s Grif has given talks on such diverse weaponry subjects as the kris of Southeast Asia to M1 Carbine in WWII.

In 1996, in partnership with a local collector, Grif spearheaded an exhibit of “Weapons in America: 1600-1890” at The Museum at Southwestern Michigan College.

Grif has written research articles for Man at Arms and The Swordsman.

Grif and his wife Barbara have written several books on local history: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Dowagiac, Michigan; Pokagon Township Reflections; The M-1 Carbine, a Revolution in Gun Stocking and The People of the Round Oak and other Dowagiac, Michigan, Personalities.

They have also made numerous lectures on a number of topics to service clubs, historical societies and patriotic organizations.

The Cooks have taken leadership roles in securing three Michigan Historical Markers: for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Dowagiac and the Sumnerville Hopewellian Mounds and Sumnerville Cemetery and the Old Rugged Cross Church.

In 2005, they were successful in getting the Public Outreach Committee of the Michigan Bar Association to install its 20th Legal Milestone in Cass County entitled Freedom Road about the Underground Railroad and the Kentucky Raid.

Grif and Barb were honored to receive a 2008 National DAR medal for history, which was awarded by the Samuel Felt DAR Chapter in Cass County.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Grif’s memory to the Old Rugged Cross Foundation, P.O. Box 41, Niles, MI; The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project, Western Michigan University, Gift Processing, 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MIĀ  49009-5403; or Borgess Hospice, 348 N. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

Please sign his guestbook and leave a memory of Grif at

Arrangements were by McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home, Dowagiac.