John Robert Cook

06/22/1967 — 05/10/2019

From Richland, WA | Born in Washington, DC

John Robert Cook

John Robert Cook died on May 10, 2019 at the age of fifty-one. The cause of death was determined to be heart disease, an enlarged heart, and anyone who knew him can attest his heart was huge, for John shared his bountiful love of life with everyone he knew. Family and friends of a lifetime, across the nation and beyond, remember John fondly and will miss him dearly.

A gifted and devoted woodworker, John marked his varied artwork with a Worthy Endeavours insignia, inspired by the famous explorer James Cook, Captain of the HMS Endeavour. Although John never sailed the open seas, he loved to fish Northwest rivers, and in recent years, cherished his carefree hours riding the breezes of Lake Coeur d’Alene in a Sunfish with a red and white striped sail. Responding to the lyrics of a friend’s song, John wrote, “I am spellbound in enchantment, just as the wind of which you write. … and I do believe my soul was once set free upon the sea. In this life I am still very much a sailor, but my ship floats upon a different medium. I am propelled forth by sails filled with friendship, love, and discovery and I rejoice upon the breezes I witness and feel upon my skin.”

Born in Washington, DC, June 22, 1967, John lived his first sixteen years in Arlington, VA, attending Wakefield High School before moving with family across the country to Richland, WA, in 1983. Quickly adapting to a new life and many new friendships in the West, John graduated from Hanford High in 1985 and earned his BS Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington four years later. He worked briefly at Boeing on the Westside before returning to Richland in 1993 with a position at Dames & Moore, where he soon met and married his wife, Vera Jane Cook, nee Miller. He continued in a 25 year career as Environmental Engineer and Project Manager at Hanford, working for AECOM and its legacy companies. He proudly served as a board member for the CREHST Museum, and graduated with Class XII of Leadership Tri Cities where he remained an active alumni. Always cherishing the human interactions of his often stressful work life, John applied his leadership tools to mentoring interns and leading continuing education seminars. An engineer by training, but an artist by heart, John’s love for wood working, fly fishing, music, poetry, sailing, and all kinds of games with his beloved family and friends provided a balance to his full professional life.

John is dearly missed by his wife Vera and their three sons, Jack Daniel (20), Joseph Thomas (18) and Adam Robert (14); parents, Frank Robert and Sondra (Sunny) Schade Cook, of Spokane; sisters Nancy Allyn Cook of Astoria, OR, and Laura Linden Cook-Crotty (Matthew Z Crotty) of Spokane; nieces and nephews Avery, Nizina, Jay, Charlie; mother-in-law, Linda Miller; brother-in-law Andrew Miller; Allen Schade (his Uncle Skip), along with so many dear friends and business associates of all ages and walks of life.

John was a remarkable man: so pure, so good, so kind, so present. He was a true friend, a devoted son, a loving husband, an amazing father, a beloved uncle, son-in-law, cousin, nephew, a gentle leader, a citizen, an artist, a lover of games, a true contemplative; a man who would wake before all others to sail from the family dock at Camp Forever on Lake Coeur d’Alene, where his ashes now rest and drift slowly downstream towards the sea.

John often expressed how blessed he felt by those who joined him on life’s journey, and a Celebration of John Robert Cook’s Life will take place at Richland’s SIGN Center at 2pm on Sunday,  September 1, 2019. Please join friends and family as we name the blessings John brought to this world, letting our hearts shine--as his did always--so very brightly. Gifts in memory of John R Cook may be made to SIGN Fracture Care International, 451 Hills Street Suite B, Richland WA, 99354.


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John Robert Cook

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  • I’m so sorry to read this news. Much love and care to all the family.

    Bobi Wilson
    October 2, 2019
  • John was one of my favorite students in computer science at Hanford High School. His thirst for knowledge was great and he was a joy to have in class. He got along with everyone and his sense of humor was wonderful. I was so sad to hear of his passing. My condolences to his loving family and friends.

    Vickie Makenas Kelly
    September 3, 2019
    Richland, WA