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Life Story / Obituary
One of a kind, Tom Cook was a wonderful man to know and love. With his outgoing, social and fun-loving nature, he shared the friendships of many. Tom enjoyed a wonderful sense of adventure and took in all life had to offer along the way. A man of strong values, he was a man of his word and lived by his moral compass. Most importantly, Tom’s easy smile was merely a reflection of his patient and gentle ways which naturally drew others to his side.
The 1950s was a time when the American Dream was alive and well. An all-time high, the minimum wage was $1.00 per hour, drive-in theaters made for great summertime fun, and with hits from Bobby Darin, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, young radio listeners everywhere were swaying to the sounds of the times. In the Michigan city of Kalamazoo, business and industry was booming, and for Thomas Sr. and Virginia (Rutz) Cook, their days were made brighter on June 26, 1958, when they welcomed the birth of their son, Thomas Earl Cook Jr. The oldest of four children in his family, Tom was later joined by his younger siblings, David, Linda, and Carrie.
The Cook family made their home in the close-knit community of Evart, Michigan. Tom’s father worked as an engineer while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. Not only the oldest, Tom was always the calm, cool one and a natural leader. He formed a close bond with his brother Dave, and they remained lifelong friends, as well. Having enjoyed a childhood typical of the times, Tom participated in Boy Scouts and shared boyhood adventures with neighboring friends. They even came up with the name the Pine Street Gang to call themselves. The ongoing Vietnam War inspired Tom and his friends to play army games, and he enjoyed playing around the yard with his little green army men and GI Joes. Always quite social, he had loads of fun with friends and loved recalling great memories of his youth.
Before graduating from Evart High School in 1976, Tom played on his school football, baseball, and basketball teams. Always into music, he had the largest collection of rock albums, and he often gave albums as gifts to his siblings, including his 10 and 12-year-old sisters. Tom attended many rock concerts while in high school and young adulthood with The Who and Led Zeppelin being just a few of his favorites, but he loved all rock music. Fun-loving and always likable, Tom was considered cool, popular and very well liked among his peers.
To further his education and like his father before him, Tom went on to earn his engineering degree from Western Michigan University; Dave followed him there in 1979 and they lived in The Zoo on Lafayette Street with several of their friends. It wasn’t long before Tom landed an engineering sales position with Durametallic / Flowserve. Over his 40 years with the company, he traveled extensively and did very well making a name for himself in the industry.
Before long, Tom met and married Judi Joubert. Throughout their 20 years marriage they came to share the love of two daughters, Kaylee and Kendra, and later, lovable grandchildren. When his family was young, Tom loved taking them on camping excursions.
It was while attending his 30 year class reunion when he reunited with a former classmate, Theresa Rosneck. She was awestruck by Tom’s beautiful white, curly hair and blue eyes. It also helped that Tom literally looked like a rock star riding in on his Harley and with his earring in place! The two immediately connected and became the best of soul mates.
Tom and Theresa were joined in marriage on August 18, 2009 at Henderson Castle, and for their honeymoon they went on his Harley to the Upper Peninsula. As a couple they both enjoyed music. About 20 years ago Tom began playing the bass guitar. He played classic rock and one of the first songs he learned was Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”. He played with the guys every week at pole barn they called “Garage Mahal”. Over the years they acquired three band names, including Drain Bammage, Perpetual Youth, and The Unusual Suspects. They hosted annual parties to keep all their friends and family in touch which was always important to Tom. A great venue for these parties, it was a priority for Tom to keep his family together which grew to include their extended family, friends and neighbors. One of the largest parties they ever hosted was their post wedding party.
As a couple, Tom and Theresa loved riding his Harley and took many trips around the state. In addition, Tom was an avid outdoorsman. He also enjoyed working on his yard, cutting trees, and riding his Brutus and golf cart with Theresa on the property. Theresa played percussion (including drums) along side Tom for 10 years and they hosted many pole barn parties every year. Tom and Theresa loved going back to Evart, which they both still considered home, to sing karaoke. With quiet faith, Tom also served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church for the past ten years. He and Theresa were both involved in the music ministry at church. He played bass guitar while she played percussion. They also served their community. Theresa was appointed clerk of Prairie Road Township where Tom served as deputy clerk.
When his girls were growing up, Tom loved watching Kaylee dance and Kendra with her horses . . . and then there were grandkids! Affectionately known as “Papa”, Tom absolutely adored his grandkids and made for the best Santa with his white hair. His daughter Kaylee said “If I could raise my 2 boys to be half the man and father that he was, I would be extremely proud!” Having retired in 2017, Tom recently bought a trailer and planned on traveling.
A good-hearted man, Tom Cook was a likable fellow who could never say “no” to his wife. Tom loved doting on his wife and loved taking her to River Junction in Evart where he liked enjoying a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. The 4th of July in Evart was their favorite time to visit. Although a big, strong man, Tom was tender, loving, patient and gentle with everyone he knew. His hearty laughter was infectious and his warm, ever present smile could always light up a room. Tom seemed to wake up smiling and went to bed the same way. Tolerant of others, he was most helpful to anyone in need. The love and companionship of family and friends were so important to Tom in which he leaves a lasting legacy of friendship and love to all he encountered. He will be deeply missed.
Thomas Earl Cook, Jr., age 60 of Schoolcraft died unexpectedly on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. Members of his family include his wife of ten years, Theresa (Rosneck) Cook; two daughters: Kaylee (Jeremy) Trinkle and Kendra Cook; two grandchildren: Leland and Naomi, and another grandson expected in August; his parents: Thomas Sr. and Virginia Cook; siblings: David (Cheri) Cook, Linda (Jeff) Dehn and Carrie (Matt) Selbee; his aunt Phyllis Hall and his uncle Marshall Rutz; his former wife, Judith Joubert; his in-laws: Leo and Ellen Rosneck; brothers and sisters-in-law: Cathy (John) Robertstad, Jim Rosneck, Patty (Jim) Wood and Leo (Stacey) Rosneck; many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by two uncles, Larry Hall and Jack Cook. Cremation will take place. Services will be held Saturday, April 20, 11:00 AM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1515 Helen Ave, Portage, MI 49002 where a visitation will begin at 10AM. A luncheon will follow the service in the church hall. Please visit Tom’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church. Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.
Copy the link below, paste and search into your browser to view Tom's Google Photo Album or Family Video. The family invites you to add pictures to the album as well.
Photo Album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hzETnignjDjfkf166
Family Video: http://bit.ly/tomjrvideo