Terry Gene Cook, 71, loving son, husband, dad and papa, of Coppell, Texas, formerly of Arkansas City, passed away Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.
A celebration of life is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Shelley Family Funeral Home in Arkansas City. A reception will be held afterwards for friends and family.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to: Road Trip 4 Paws at www.roadtrip4paws.com/donate or
Air Force Aid Society at shar.es/aXyuHT.
Terry was born Aug. 31, 1948, in Independence, to Milburn Lee Cook and Gwendolyn (Darst) Cook of Fredonia. The family, including sister, Cindy, moved to Arkansas City, where he graduated from Arkansas City High School in 1966.
Terry started working at the age of 14 and never quit. He always said that his work ethic was instilled in him by his dad. He worked many jobs, including hauling hay, working at the New Era flour mill with his dad and serving in the U.S. Air Force. Terry volunteered for the draft in 1969 and was stationed at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. He served 21 years and retired as a major in 1990.
Terry graduated summa cum laude in 1974 from Park College with an undergraduate degree in Economics/Business. Later he earned a master’s degree in Business Administration and a second in Procurement and Materials Management from Webster College. After leaving the military, Terry spent 27 years in the aerospace business, working in contracts, program management and as a director for several SAR programs.
Once he retired in 2017, Terry never slowed down. He woke up at the crack of dawn and spent his days helping neighbors to cut down trees, shuttling people to doctor’s appointments, working on his beloved Mustang, and cleaning every single leaf out of the swimming pool multiple times a day.
Terry married Elizabeth Ann Shoemake, a small-town Fredonia girl, in 1971. Being a typical military family, they moved across the country and back again. They were stationed in Montana, Missouri, California, Kansas, Ohio, Florida, and finally in San Antonio, Texas. They had their son, Shane, in 1972, and daughter, Cara, in 1977. Sadly, they lost newborn son, Lance Michael, in 1976.
Terry loved family and helped to organize annual get-togethers. The Darst Family reunion was always the highlight of his year. Terry also adored animals and collected strays. The Cooks took in three lucky dogs and 12 fat cats through the years, who lived a life of luxury. His family is not sure which he desired more: beer or dessert. Terry enjoyed a nice, cold Corona, but he could sniff out chocolate in even the best of hiding places. He would eat an entire bag of Golden Oreos in a single sitting. Terry was known for his compassion for others, his infectious laughter and his slightly embellished story telling.
Terry was preceded in death by his son, Lance, and his dad, Milburn.
He is survived by his wife, Ann; son, Shane and wife, Shelby; daughter, Cara and husband, Keith; granddaughter, Campbell; grandsons, Keller, Henry, and Milo; mother, Gwen; sister, Cindy, as well as brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.