MOORE — Gene was born in Tulsa, Okla., the son of Hailey Clifford and Gladys Marguerite (Cayot) Cook. He passed away surrounded by his loving family in Moore, Okla.
Gene was a graduate of Ardmore High School in Ardmore, Okla., and then moved to Stillwater, Okla., to attend Oklahoma A & M (today's Oklahoma State) from where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
On July 24, 1955, he wed Miss Jo Betté Bonneau in the First Presbyterian Church in Ardmore, Okla. They were blessed with three children, Teri, Susan and Rick.
On Aug. 4 1955 he entered the Armed Forces where he served in the U.S. Air Force for over 25 years, and like the typical military veteran he moved frequently serving in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, California, Maine, Guam, Vietnam, Virginia, India, Massachusetts and finally Abilene, Texas, where he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Gene was a pilot and during his years of service he received many awards and citations to include the Distinguish Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.
After retiring from the military he worked for the City of Abilene where he served as Assistant Director of Public Works.
Gene was an avid golfer, an amazing woodworker who took special delight making rocking horses for his grandchildren, and he enjoyed working with stained glass.
A man of faith, Gene was affiliated with the First United Methodist Church in Abilene for over 30 years where he served in several volunteer capacities. Like Jo, he also participated in the Walk of Emmaus, an experience he openly shared with his many friends.
Gene was a dear friend that had the unique ability to be a great listener. When you were with him, he made you feel like he was all yours. He made you feel special, even important. He didn't rush away or treat you like you were interrupting something more important. He lived each moment to the fullest, fully present to others, giving everyone he knew the most precious thing he had – the gift of his time. Indeed he will be sorely missed by all who were blessed to call him a friend.
Gene moved back to Oklahoma in 2009 so that he could provide better care for his loving wife and be close to Susan and the rest of the family.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, parents and older brother, Clifford Hailey Cook Jr.
Left to mourn his passing and cherish his memories he is survived by his children, Teresa L. Napoli of Herndon, Va., Susan R. and her husband Jim McGowan of Moore and Richard S. Cook of Houston; seven grandchildren, six great grandchildren and many, many friends.
Religious services to celebrate his life will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church in Abilene with Reverend David Black officiating.
Internment services will be held at 11 a.m., on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Ardmore where he will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife of 54 years.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to your local Alzheimer's or Parkinson chapters or to a charity of the donor's choice.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to John Ireland Funeral Home.