John R. Cook
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Funeral for John Robert Cook, age 84, of Decatur, Alabama, will be Wednesday, March 4, 2009, at 1 p.m. at First Bible Church of Decatur, 3202 Spring Avenue SW, with Dr. Steve Bateman officiating and Roselawn Funeral Home directing. Burial will be in Roselawn Gardens of Memory, 741 Danville Road SW, Decatur, AL 35601. The family will receive visitors Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at First Bible Church from 4 to 7 p.m.
Mr. Cook, philanthropist, nationally acclaimed businessman, and owner of Cook’s Pest Control, died Friday, February 27, 2009, at his home of pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Cook’s desire throughout his adult life was to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to share his Savior’s love with others. He carried out that passion faithfully, even during months of treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Born January 21, 1925, in Athens, Alabama, he was the only child of John L. and Leona Cook. The family moved to Decatur in 1927.
After graduating in 1943 from Riverside High School in Decatur, Mr. Cook enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during World War II in Atlanta, Georgia, and the South Pacific until discharged in 1946.
On July 12, 1946, he married the love of his life, Eleanor Elizabeth “Jo” Mitcham.
Mr. Cook studied architecture at Georgia Tech, graduating in 1950. That same year, after the death of his father, he gave up his dream of a career in architecture and returned to Decatur to fulfill termite guarantees for the family business, North Alabama Termite Company, later renamed Cook’s Pest Control. Under his leadership, Cook’s grew from one full-time employee and only a few accounts to become the seventh largest pest control company in the United States.
Though always humble regarding his business success, Mr. Cook was the recipient of countless accolades and honors.
His civic involvement included extensive work with the Decatur Jaycees. In 1959, he was named Jaycees’ Young Man of the Year, and in 1961, was one of four men named Outstanding Young Man in Alabama. Mr. Cook served on the following boards: Morgan County Industrial, Central Bank, Regions Bank, Decatur General Hospital Foundation, Calhoun College Foundation, Edwin Hodges Ministries, and Chamber of Commerce Beautification. In 1988, the Chamber honored Mr. Cook by naming him Small Business Person of the Year.
Mr. Cook served terms as president of the Alabama Pest Control Association and the National Pest Control Association. In 2001, the national association presented him with the President’s Pinnacle Award. That year, Cook’s Pest Control won the Better Business Bureaus’ National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.
Mr. Cook was known throughout the pest management industry for his creative marketing strategies such as the Cookie the Cop mascot and the catchy jingle now synonymous with the company: “Lookie, Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie!” His architectural training instilled within him an attention to detail that was beneficial in growing a pest control business.
Mr. Cook’s dedication to the community was evidenced through his humanitarianism toward local, national, and international charities and educational institutions. In 1980, he built Cook’s Natural Science Museum as a place to share the wonder of God’s creation with the public. The museum welcomes visitors free of charge seven days a week. When Decatur Heritage Christian Academy was established in 1995, Mr. Cook joined others in freely offering his time and resources in support of academic excellence in Christian education. Globally, he led mission trips to Moldova and Ukraine.
In 1965, with a desire to share their faith, Mr. Cook and his wife, Jo, began hosting a weekly Bible study, from which First Bible Church of Decatur was established. Mr. Cook, a charter member, served as an elder for many years. During the 1970s and 1980s, they were lay staff members with Campus Crusade for Christ and hosted a high school ministry in their home.
In 2008, Mr. Cook’s life story was recorded in the book, Employee Number 2: The Story of John Cook and Cook’s Pest Control.
Mr. Cook is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eleanor “Jo” Mitcham Cook, son, John Robert Cook Jr. and his wife, Lyn Striplin Cook, and grandson, Brian Christopher Cook, all of Decatur.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John Lewis Cook and Leona Long Cook, and an infant son, James Lewis Cook.
Pallbearers will be Jim Aycock, George White, Joey Harris, Bill Prince, Scott Dubach and Fred Henderson.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of Mr. Cook’s Thursday morning Bible study.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to Decatur Heritage Christian Academy, P.O. Box 5659, Decatur, AL 35601.

This obituary was originally published in the Decatur Daily.

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Published in Decatur Daily from Mar. 1 to Mar. 2, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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54 entries
March 20, 2009
Just wanted you to know we are thinking about you. John played a very important part in Joe's life.
We will miss him.
Joe and Dean Steeley
Birmingham, Alabama
Joe Steeley
March 20, 2009
My deepest sympathy goes out to the Cook Family. We were all blessed to know Mr. Cook. His life gave others a look at what and who a Christian should be. He was a true testimony and will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Much love and prayers,
Mary Lombard
March 13, 2009
A huge loss to both family and community. John was the epitome of a gentleman. It was my honor to have known him.
Dave Harness
March 13, 2009
I worked for Cooks Pest Control from 1998 to 2004. I worked as a technician and then became a Supervisor in the Knoxville, TN Office. I and my service manager were one of the first in our office to make it to Presidents Club. It was there that I met Mr. Cook in person. He left a lasting impression on both me and my family. We met in the lobby of the hotel and he immediatly knew me and personally thanked me for the job I was doing for Cooks. The thing that impressed me the most about Mr. Cook is that after thanking me, he immediately turned his attention to my shy little daughter. In no time at all, she was carrying on conversation with Mr. Cook and smiling. I am not sure who enjoyed the encouter the most, for Mr. Cook himself had a smile from ear to ear. It is the integrity that this dear gentleman had that built a company. Integrity is something that is forgotten when money comes into view. Mr. Cook never forgot the integrity and that is why I will never forget him. I learned from this man and I share what I have learned with others. We will miss you Mr. Cook, but being saved by the Grace of God assures me that I will see you again one day in Heaven. May God give peace to your family during your absence. May the future leaders of Cooks Pest Control remember the integrity when continuing the business in your honor.


Buddy E. Henry
TDA Pesticides Inspector
Buddy Henry
March 11, 2009
We offer our deepest sympathy. When tragedy strikes and takes the life of our loved ones, many cry out with great sorrow. Your tears are not unnoticed by the Creator of Life. Never was it his purpose for our human lives to be taken away. Although your deep pain will not easily disappear, prayer to God will bring comfort to you as you grieve. The Bible assures us God "is healing the broken hearted ones, and is binding up their painful spot." Psalm 147:3
March 8, 2009
Sure am sorry for your loss. May God be with you
Joe and Jo Sain
March 6, 2009
Dear Jo, John, Lyn and Brian

I am so very sorry for your loss.
I tried not to be sad, just thankful for his life. It didn't work.

The path of a man's life is usually determined by just a few events. One such event for me took place in 1965 when John invited me to join in the development of a data system for his company. It would take a book to tell all, but let it suffice to say that John was both good to me and good for me. He challenged me greatly and encouraged me greatly. John taught me the meaning of tenacity. His confidence in me gave me the courage to get through some difficult times.

This 1965 event, started a relationship that survived for over forty years, and tried his patience no doubt. It also proved to be a defining marker in my life, a measuring rod for future works.

My last meeting with John was a walk down memory lane, and I was so aware that I was talking to the same kind and gentle man I had met some forty years earlier.

I am a better person for having known John and I will miss him.

Love, Herb
Herbert Teague
March 6, 2009
Today I am at my desk in the Cook's Cullman District office. I have my funeral program lying by my calendar with the photo of Mr. Cook. I have looked at it many times in these past two days. I am thinking of all the handshakes, hugs, and greetings I have received from this man over my past 36 years with Cook's Pest Control. I know I could have called upon him at anytime and he would have listened to whatever I had to say. My friends and family have always told me how special it was to have the owner of a company that accessible. I have received a special blessing by knowing Mr. Cook and my thoughts and memories of him are warming my heart at this very moment.
Joyce Corbin
March 6, 2009
It is with sadness and JOY that I write this.What a previlege it has been to have worked for Mr. Cook for almost 30 years. it just doesn't seem right him not being here even though I didn't see him often.My last time to speak with him was about three months ago.I could tell he wasn't feeling well and yet he was smiling from ear to ear.What a trooper,mentor, boss, and leader he was I know he is in a better place still praying for you Mrs Cook, John, Lynn and Bryan .God Bless your family.
Freddy Beem
March 6, 2009
May God continue to bless you and keep you, I can`t express in words how greatful I am to know and have an example to follow like Mr. Cook.
Bo Mustin
March 6, 2009
Mr. Cook was a great and honorable man. I can only hope that I will be half the businessman he was. I truly respected what he did and wish to help his legacy live on. I became closer in my walk with GOD because of the Cook family.
James Kelly
March 5, 2009
Mrs. Cook and Family: I can't tell you how much Mr. Cook meant to us as a great employer and a wonderful friend. June and I will miss him very much. He was the perfect example of the business owner. I can only pray that other owners would follow in his steps and operate their companies with "Honesty and Integrity."
God Bless All of You!
Ray and June
Ray and June Phillips
March 5, 2009
mr.cook was a very generous man,i tell everyone that we interview for a job here that the cook family takes very good care of their employees,we are very blessed to have had such a great and wonderful man to work for,i will miss him of my fondest memories of mr cook was at the presidents club ceremony when it was announced that the company had reached 50 million in production,they asked mr.cook to come up on stage to speak for a few minutes.after he had spoke he stepped down off of the stage where the gift table i remember,mr cook took one of the clocks off of the table as if to say"hey i get one of these too dont i".i remember everyone laughing so loud,it was so funny,that just made the whole trip for me that year.
andrew vick
March 5, 2009
I have never worked for a better owner of a company than MR. Cook! I spoke with hime several times and he was always a wonderous man to be around.
Gary Cartwright- Mobile
Gary Cartwright
March 5, 2009
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Greg Snodgrass
March 5, 2009
Dear Mrs. Cook, John Robert, Lyn and
We are deeply saddened by Mr. Cook's passing, but we know from the life he lead, he is in a better place.
We want to thank you again for sharing him with us. He was such a joy to be around - we loved him and know that he loved us. Our thoughts
and prayers are with you. We appreciate the opportunity and priviledge we have had to work for such a fine man and Cook's Pest Control.

Bud and Kathy Jones Albertville District
Kathy Jones
March 5, 2009
I feel so blessed to work for a company ran by such great people. Even though I never really got to speak with Mr.Cook one on one, I felt like I knew him. He was such an inspiration to all of us. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Kim Lunsford
March 5, 2009
any new person that comes through this office,i tell them that you cant work for a better owner,that they are great people to work for and to know. we will all miss him.
donald harwood
March 5, 2009
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Max Fant
March 5, 2009
Mr. Cook will always be in my thoughts and my everyday walk through life. Mr. Cook is a mentor and friend and he will be missed. We will see each other again my friend. We love you.
Ronnie Burns
March 5, 2009
Dear Mrs. Cook, John Robert and family,
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our lifelong friend John Cook. My family and I wanted to let you know that you have our deepest sympathy and our hearts are truly saddened.

In my life, John Cook was more than just a wonderful person; he was always so kind and considerate to me that I always welcomed seeing him at every opportunity. I remember my last visit with him. He had come to see my Dad who had been in ICU for many weeks. Mr. Cook, himself suffering from painful shingles thought enough of my Dad to visit with us. Dad was very ill and weakened by a long hospital stay but when the two old friends met, a glow was apparent on both of their faces. The visit blessed all three of us and our spirits were lifted. They reminisced about the early days at North Alabama Termite Company, We spoke of our visits with Granny Cook and to Mrs. Mitchum’s home. Those days were precious and the manner he treated us was unforgettable. It was evident during the visit that the friendship between the two was special.

It was with much pride to see the business grow from those humble beginnings, with only a few employees to where the business is today.

Mr. Cook’s passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but in the hearts of all those who knew him.

Your family will always remain within our hearts, and we will include your family in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you strength and peace in your days ahead..

If there is anything I we can do to help you in anyway, please do not hesitate to call on me at anytime. I will be glad to assist in any manner needed.

Please know our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you.

With our deepest sympathy,
Steve Puckett
March 4, 2009
it was my pleasure to have known and worked for mr. cook. he will be sorely missed. all my prayersand well wishes to the family
phillip higginbotham
March 4, 2009
John Robert,

I'll always remember your Dad as a kind and cheerful person. My condolences to you and your family in this time of grief.
Charlie Thompson
March 4, 2009
Dear Mrs Cook, John Robert, Lyn and Brian,
My family wishes prayerful sympathies to you all. I greatly admired Mr Cook and am thankfull for the way he dedicated his life and work to God.
George Craddock
March 3, 2009
Jo, John, Lyn and Bryan:
Frances and my prayers are about and with you. John will be remembered by all by the example he set. I'm sure he has already heard the words "well done thy good and faithful servant" from our Lord. John treated everyone like God instructs us to do. Over the years of working with and for John, I never hear him raise his voice and always kept his word. He may not be with us now but the impact he made on his fellow man will be for eternity.
My life has more meaning now, because John's shadow crossed my path.
rhea greenwell
March 3, 2009
To the Cook family,
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for your beloved husband, father, and grandfather. What a kind, gentle, man Mr. Cook was. His grace extended to all, and his work here on earth touched many. The workplace he created for his employees and the honesty and integrity he displayed in his company are rare qualities these days and I appreciate that my family was privileged to be part of that for all these years. I am certain that part of what makes my daddy the great man that he is is the fact that he had a great man as his mentor.
Love to you all,
Leanne White Taliaferro
Leanne Taliaferro
March 3, 2009
It was a great privilege to know Mr. Cook. I am so thankful for what he did for my father, P. W. Kimbrough.
Phil Kimbrough
Phil Kimbrough
March 3, 2009
Many thanks to Mr. Cook for his inspiration, and deepest sympathy for family and close friends in their loss. Mr. Cook was a mentor to many young businessmen, and served as a cornerstone for many seeking spiritual strength.
M. Derek Barrentine
March 3, 2009
With mixed emotions, I send my deepest sympathy to the family.
I am so grateful to my Lord and savior for the opportunity to have met and worked for such an awesome man.

Mr Cook was an example to all of us at Cook's Pest Control as to how to treat people and to live our lives. I could go on and on about how he shared his love for God and his love for his family, there just is not enough space.

I pray God will continue to comfort the family during this sad time, ease their pain and sorrow, and to draw them closer to each other and our Lord. I praise Him for the time He gave Mr Cook on this earth with his family and the witness that he left behind to all of us. May I strive each day to be more like Jesus and Mr Cook.

Always seeking "a heart like His"
Shirley Prince
March 3, 2009
Mrs. Cook,
I have been so blessed and inspired by your updates on Mr. Cook's health and illness and how God has used so many people and His word to give hope, joy and peace through this time sorrow and grief. I have been praying for you and your family and will continue to do so as you mourn (celebrate) Mr. Cook's life.
Jan Hardin Thomas
Jan Thomas
March 3, 2009
I would like to extend my sympathies to the family and to express my admiration and appreciation for the legacy Mr. cook leaves for the pest control industry.
May God continue to bless the family of John Cook.
Wilson Gammill
wilson gammill
March 2, 2009
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Rex & Pat Dove
March 2, 2009
I worked for Cook's for 16 years. From 1991-2007. In 1998 my wife and I lost our first child. Mr. and Mrs. Cook sent us a simple card. We still have that card and the words of Gods love written in it. We are blessed with two beautiful children. Even though my heart is filled with sorrow, I know Mr. Cook is home with our savior. Lord bless the Cook Family.
Chris Wooldridge
March 2, 2009
Dear Jo, John Robert, Lyn and Brian,

With my heartfelt sympathies,

In Him,
Bill Baker
March 2, 2009
Mr.Cook had many years of accomplishments and investments,but more importantly he had a great love for and close relationship with GOD. May the family know he's at peace and forever remembered.
Tracey Sutherlin
March 2, 2009
As a past employee of Cook's Pest Control, it was my pleasure to know Mr and Mrs. Cook. It was also my pleasure to be beaten by Mr. Cook on the tennis court on many occassions (as I recall I never did beat him). My short time with his great company will always be remembered as a great time for me. Mr. Cook, thank you for sharing with me your story of salvation. You were a great No. 2 employee. You will be greatly missed.
Terry W Bowen
March 2, 2009
With all our love and respect for a great servant of Jesus John Cook. We send our deepest sympathies to you Jo, John Jr, Lyn and Brian for your loss of this great husband, dad and granddad. I will always be grateful for the way John and Jo believed in me as a brand new believer and encouraged me to grow in faith. And as the years went on you all became great supporters of our ministry in Missions. John Cook finished strong and finished well.
Hans and Donna Finzel
March 2, 2009
The Cook Pest Control legend is an important one in the pest management world. I enjoyed very much reading his biography. The way the Cooks do business is the right way. The legacy that Mr. Cook leaves behind is a rich one. Honesty, integrity, and community service are the cornerstones of their success.
Jeff Annis
March 2, 2009
Mrs Cook, John, Lyn and Bryan Our Prayers go out to you. My life and my heart was deeply touched back in 1981 when Mr. Cook and I spent time togather in Marietta. The world was a better place because of him. God bless you and the entire Cook's Org.
Thurmon Morris
March 2, 2009
My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Cook, John Roberts, Lyn and Bryan. Mr. Cook was a very kind and thoughtful person to have worked for that always had a kind word for you wherever he would see you.
Linda Thompson
March 2, 2009
Mr. Cook was such an inspiration and great man of God. My prayers are with your family.
Jill Mills-Davis
March 2, 2009
I feel blessed that I got to meet Mr. Cook and work for his company for a short time. He was a geat man who put family, friends and employees first. God choose his stewart well when he chose Mr. Cook.
My prayers and care go out to the family.
Linda Getz
March 2, 2009
God Bless, Rest in Peace. Bill @ Elise Thornton
william Thornton
March 2, 2009
Dear Special Family,
He wore his faith well! You all are in our thoughts and prayers.
Debbie & Neal Brewer
March 1, 2009
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
sandy posey
March 1, 2009
Jo, John, Lyn and Bryan:
Our prayers are with you during this time of loss. I met John in 1984 when he was involved in hiring me as interim minister of music at First Bible Church. I have so many wonderful memories of the years with him in church and times in your home and yard. What an impact John made on his company, church and friends. He will surely be missed. God bless you all.

Frank and family
Frank Gauldin
March 1, 2009
Frank Gauldin
March 1, 2009
I never personally met Mr. Cook, but through some mutual missionary acquaintance and by the grace of God, I was able to correspond regularly with Jo, his beloved wife, by email. Clearly she is a woman of God and I know by what I have heard and read of Mr. Cook, he loved and served the Lord with full passion and commitment. He leaves a legacy that he can be pleased to present to His Master.
Ken Godevenos
March 1, 2009
Mr. Cook set a fine example for all to follow, especially the employees of Cook's Pest Control in Decatur. We used his company's services for more than 30 years and they always came through (whatever the problem) with respect and trust. We never had a complaint about Cook's service. I'm sure Mr. Cook instilled all his employee's with all the Christian Ideals that he possesed. Mr. Cook was a fine person, gentleman for sure. He will be missed by many who had the pleasure to know him.
Frank & Sara Hudson
March 1, 2009
March 1, 2009
Mr. Cook was THE example of how a believer in Christ should conduct himself in business and in life. He always had a kind word and a genuine smile for anyone who crossed his path. I count it a privilege to have known him.
Patrick Greenwell
March 1, 2009
John Cook was a wonderful, caring person.
Our loss is heavens gain.
Susan Walden
March 1, 2009
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Keith Andrews
February 28, 2009
My heart goes out to the family of Mr Cook. I regret that I never got the opportunity to meet him.

Cook's Pest Control
Memphis North
Larry Spitler
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