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George Kok Sr.

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George Kok Sr. Obituary
KOK, GEORGE SR., 91 passed away Saturday October 5, 2013. George is a former college and professional basketball player, who played at the University of Arkansas from 1944 - 1948. He was one of the first true big men to dominate the game. He was the second overall pick in the 1948 Basketball Association of America Draft, but never played in the league that was the predecessor of today's National Basketball Association.

Kok played basketball while attending high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan before coming to Arkansas. Standing 6 feet, 11 inches tall, Kok dominated the game from his freshman days, averaging 18.7 points in his first season. During that 1944-45 he led the team to the final four of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) and its dominate big man, Bob Kurland, 69-41 in the regional final.

Kok went on to be the first Arkansas player to score over 1000 points in his career, finished with 1641 in 94 games, an average of 17.5 per contest. At the time the 3 point shot did not exist. He still ranks number 11 on the all-time Arkansas scoring list and his career total was not surpassed for thirty years. He was named The Sporting News 2nd Team all-American in 1945, Associated Press 3rd Team All American in 1948 and All-Southwest Conference in 1945, 1946, and 1948. He twice led the Southwest Conference in scoring.

Kok was selected as the number two pick overall by the Indianapolis Jets in the 1948 BAA Draft, but never signed with the team nor played in the league. He did play one season with Bridgeport in the American Basketball League in the 1949-50, leading the team in scoring at 15 points per game and helping the team to the league finals, where they lost to Scranton.

Following his playing days, Kok became the first athletic director at Pleasure Ridge Park High School and spent 24 years (1958-1982) teaching at the school. The PRP "Little Gym" was dedicated and was named the George W. Kok Sr. Gymnasium in 2011. He has been honored by the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (1988), the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (1994), and the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame (2005), Sixth and Seventh Region Hall of fame, Pi K A Wall of Honor, Pleasure Ridge Park High School Hall of Fame, and the University of Arkansas Legend Southeastern Conference tournament.

George was born on March 18, 1922 to the late Ralph and Sadie Kok. He is preceded in death by his first wife of 51 years, Bernadette H. Kok; a sister, Bea Mersman; brothers, Henry Smeenk and Ralph Kok; and a daughter, Barbara Anne Kok.

He is survived by his wife Lucille Kok, sons George W. Kok Jr. (Ellen) and Kevin O. Kok (Kathie); daughters, Mary Bernadette Kok and Elizabeth Hawk; grandsons, Adam, George III (Ashley), Andrew (Brandi), and Gerald; two great-grandsons, Lucas and CJ; two great- granddaughters, Decker and Haylie; stepsons, Warren (Janice), Paul, David (Deborah) Tom (Beverly) of Lexington, KY, Jim (Patricia), Pat (Elizabeth) and Mike Bruenderman, of New Albany, IN; stepdaughters, Diane Buddington (Don), of Boulder CO, Katherine Bruenderman of Cincinnati, OH, Nancy Skiles (Dallas), Carol Paisley, of Lexington, Martha Gray (John), of Frankfort, KY; Jim Ross, and Gail Skees.

He was a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and a charter member of Saint Clement Catholic Church. He, along with his wife Lucille, was an active member with the singing group The Silver Notes. He was the past president of The Silver Notes and also an L&N Railroad member. He had served many years working with St. Vincent de Paul. He enjoyed playing Dominoes with his family and friends. He was greatly loved and will be missed by his family and his host of friends.

The funeral Mass is 10 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 3345 Lexington Road, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation is 2-8 p.m. Tuesday at Ratterman Brothers, 3711 Lexington Road.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Cedar Lake Lodge, 7984 New LaGrange Road, Louisville, 40222.


Published in The Courier-Journal from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8, 2013
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