GREENVILLE - Russell Ricker Cook Sr., 89, formerly of Leominster, Mass., died Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at his residence with his loving family surrounding him.
The son of Hiram LeRoy and Madalene E. (Ricker) Cook, he grew up in Leominster, Mass., graduating from Leominster High School, Class of 1942, and Fitchburg State College, Class of 1948, obtaining his M.Ed. degree in 1952. In 1954, he and his wife, Florence, settled in Greenville, in the home they built.
A proud veteran of World War II
, serving in the European Theater as technical support for the 187th Field Artillery from October 1942, to December 1945, he participated in five major campaigns, including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.
He taught in Leominster and Fitchburg high schools for over 30 years. After retirement from teaching, he devoted full time to Russ Cook Tours, planning and escorting thousands of travelers throughout the United States and Canada, sharing his love for our United States, its history and beauty.
Education of the young was one of his main passions. He devoted 33 years of classroom instruction; six years as a school board member at the local level and three years on the board of trustees at Notre Dame High School in Fitchburg, Mass., serving as chairman of both organizations. He also served on the Greenville Board of Selectmen.
Being both a member and a leader in several fraternal organizations, he was a 52-year member of the LeClair-Caron-Pelletier Post 13, American Legion; life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
of the United States; a member of the Hillsborough County Law Enforcement Association; an active member and supporter of the National Rifle Association, and active in many conservative causes and political campaigns. He was a 65-year member and past master of Wilder Lodge AF & AM, Leominster, Mass., a life member of the York Rite and Scottish Rite Bodies of Freemasons, consisting of Jerusalem Commandery 19, Knights Templar of Fitchburg, Mass., Leominster Royal Arch Chapter, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Bodies of Boston and the Valley of Worcester, Mass., Aleppo Temple Shriners, and one of the founders of the Fitchburg-Leominster Shrine Club. A cause dear to his heart was supporting the Children's Transportation Fund for the Shriner's Hospitals for Children.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Florence R. (Zickell) Cook; daughter and son-in-law Robin and Peter Michaud of Center Harbor; son and daughter-in-law Francis and Constance Cook of Greenville; and our dearest Kate Thomsen of Pennington, N.J. He was further blessed with four grandchildren, Gregory and Katelyn Michaud, and Zachary and Christopher Cook; three generations of nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his son, Russell R. Cook Jr.
services: A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the T.J. Anderson & Son Funeral Home, 25 Fitchburg Road (Route 2A) Ayer, Mass. See andersonfuneral.com
for additional information.
Mr. Cook's family will receive family and friends on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Alleppo Children's Transportation Fund, 99 Fordham Road, Wilmington, MA 01887.