Dr. Henry Dean Cook, Captain, USAF (MC)
Dr. Henry Dean Cook, Captain, USAF (MC)

June 10, 1937 - December 30, 2017
Born in Cuthbert, GA
Resided in Castle Rock, CO
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Obituary

Dr. Henry Dean Cook 1937 ~ 2017

Born in Blakely, Georgia, to William Crosby Cook and Clara T. Cook. Survived by wife Joyce Ellen Cook; children Laura Skistad, (Jason Skistad), Chad Cook, (Kelly Cook), Ellen Wellens, (Greg Wellens), Beau Cook; grandchildren Caleb Skistad, Kaitlyn Skistad, Ethan Skistad, Will Cook, Alex Cook, Emily Cook, Noelle Cook, Owen Wellens, Nathan Wellens, Christopher Wellens; siblings William Crosby Cook, Jr (deceased), (Anne Cook).

He attended Blakely High School, Mercer University, Medical College of Georgia, and Anesthesia Residency Colorado University. Professional career included Assistant Chief of Surgery, Captain, United States Air Force, 1963-1972.

He was a member of The National Beta Club, ATO, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Fraternity, The Gama Sigma Epsilon Chemical Fraternity, The Blue Key National Honor Fraternity, Wesley Foundation Mercer University Secretary and President, and Theta Kappa Psi Medical Fraternity. He had many accomplishments, but would rarely talk about them. He was more concerned about other people and whether they knew about God and how they could be in heaven with him. A few that are important to the family are; Captain in the Air Force, Anesthesiologist, Beloved Husband of 48 years, Father of 4 children, and Grandfather of 10 Grandchildren.

Dad was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He's been described by one of his best friends as the most genuine person in his life. He was certainly that to me. He was intelligent, wise, witty and charming, and his humility made all of these attributes shine all the more.

Dad was born in the small peanut farming town of Blakely, Georgia. He was the son of a hardware store owner and he learned to hunt from a man named James Brownlee who sharecropped on his father's farm. When I was 7 years old he took me to Georgia to meet James. James handed me pellet gun and taught me to shoot that day. Dad's father, William Crosby Cook, was his closest friend and he died suddenly after a father-son trip that the two of them had been on. Dad was 21 years old at the time. I remember decades later how much he missed his father.

Dad graduated from high school first in his class and was Valedictorian. He was accepted to the Medical College of Georgia after just 3 years at Mercer University and never received a college degree. After medical school, he knew that the odds of being drafted would greatly increase, so he voluntarily enlisted in the US Air Force Feb 21, 1963. A week later he received his draft letter. He was stationed at Turner Air Force base in Albany, Georgia during the Vietnam war and served as Assistant Chief of Surgery, his rank was Captain. In those days there were no anesthesiologists and when he was assisting with surgery, he would routinely find himself at the head of the bed working to keep the patient safe. I believe it was then that he realized his God-given purpose was the safety of others.

Dad had an adventurous spirit and while in military he traveled to Bermuda, the Azores Islands, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Holland, the British Isles, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Nicaragua. When he asked his commanding officer to write him a letter of recommendation for residency, he replied in a letter, "My appreciation for the manner in which you have performed your duties during the past 2 years. . . In spite of your reputation as a world traveler, you have been an outstanding asset to this organization."
After he was relieved from active duty in 1965, he came to Denver to do a residency in the emerging field of Anesthesiology at the University of Colorado. It was here that he met his lifelong friends and hunting buddies, Nayt Anderston, Bruce Wellens and Sterling Barclay. His stories about those times were probably appropriately vague but the gist was that Bruce would have got them into a lot more trouble if it were not for him. Nayt's job was to strike a sort of balance between Dad's concern for safety and Bruce's love for adventure. Bruce's son, Greg, later married my sister. There's a term Dad would use to describe navigating a really dangerous 4-wheel drive trail; he used to call it "white-knuckling". I'm pleased to say his knuckles were surprisingly pink when Greg was wooing his precious daughter.

After residency, Dad practiced anesthesia at Lutheran Hospital. They started a group with just a few partners, Wally Weld, Tom Best, were among them in the beginning. His group grew to dozens of physicians and he kept in touch with countless friends from Lutheran Hospital, whom he loved, until he died.

Dad met Mom at Church where he was the president of the Harvester's Single group. She liked him instantly and asked him for his bicycle which apparently he had promised her. She was a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado. He stood her up on their first date because he had to take care of a trauma- there had been an accident at the Coors Brewery and a man had been impaled by a ladder. It was then that she learned he was a physician. Prior to that he had told he that he passed gas for a living; she figured he worked at a gas station. He married her in 1969.

Dad loved all babies and all babies and children loved him. He was always hatching something or raising something from its infancy. We had baby ducks, baby quail, baby rabbits, baby puppies, and baby horses. He was like a child when he held them and played with them. He planted dozens of fruit trees and had an enormous garden of vegetables. He believed in legacy. He told the stories of our ancestors and looked forward to the stories we would tell and the things we would do. He sent us all to college and when I asked him if I could repay him, he told me I could-- by making sure his grandchildren were educated.

When we were kids he would sit at the head of the table with a big bowl of ice cream (it was never big enough) and he would get excited about something- it was usually an idea for a vacation. His eyes would get huge and he'd start talking about how much fun we were going to have. It was infectious. Then we would plan nothing. We get in a car or on a plane and go to some destination and the details would all work themselves out on the way. There is only one woman on this Earth that could love a man like that so gracefully, my equally spontaneous Mom.

We had so much fun together as a family. We loved doing stuff with Dad. When you had one-on-one time with him there was an unwritten agreement, a deal we all agreed to-- we'd enter into some incredibly intense conversation about the plan or vision for our lives, or the lessons he learned in the past and we'd have the time of our lives hunting, white-water rafting or riding horses. These experiences shaped our lives as young adults. As he got older and his body was failing him, it was hard for him. He felt like he wasn't keeping up his side of the bargain and he missed those days dearly, when we did things outdoors together.

When I was a kid I had a best friend, Luke Young. He loved Luke like a son. Luke's parents, Nadine and Terry became close friends with Dad and Mom and it was with the Youngs that Dad learned to answer Jesus's knock. As the Holy Spirit worked in his life he began a serious and faithful journey to know and love God. He revered God's Truth, that sin separates us from God and that Jesus his son can forgive sin and allow us to live the life God has planned for us. And that obedience to God's purpose is life-giving. And that we should be ready because Jesus will return soon. My favorite thing about Dad, is that he was so unashamed and unafraid to share this Truth. This life on Earth for Dad is only the beginning for him, And while I wonder what he is doing today, I'm certain that he has purpose in Heaven like he did in all aspects of his life on Earth.

Memorial donations in honor of Dr. Dean Cook may be made to:

Wheat Ridge Young Life
Jewish Voice: https://www.jewishvoice.org/donate

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Services

Memorial Service
Calvary Castle Rock
1100 Caprice Dr.
Castle Rock, CO 80109
Friday, January 5, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Burial
Fort Logan National Cemetery
3698 South Sheridan Boulevard
Denver, CO US 80236
Friday, March 2, 2018
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Charities

Wheat Ridge Young Life
601 16th St. Ste C#203
Golden, CO 80401
Jewish Voice
P.O. Box 31998
Phoeniz, AZ 85046-1998