Paul M. Cook
1924 - 2020
{ "" }
Share
Share Paul's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Paul M. Cook

Paul M. Cook, age 96, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2020, with his wife, Marcia, by his side. Paul is survived by his son, Gavin (Cecilia), his step-children Richard Souter (Mary) and Susan Lengyel, and his grandchildren, Maxwell and Liliha Cook, Elizabeth, Nick and Luke Souter, Andrew Souter, Allison Groton, Steven Groton, and Chance Lengyel.

Paul was born in Ridgewood, NJ, April 25, 1924. He developed an interest in chemistry at a young age, advancing from a basement laboratory in his parents' home, to studying chemical engineering at MIT. In 1943, he put his education on hold to enlist in the Army. In the Army Specialized Training Program he studied mechanical engineering for two terms at Stanford University. As a lieutenant he joined the famed 10th Mountain Division serving in combat in Italy toward the end of WW2. Upon completion of his military service, he returned to MIT, completing his degree in 1947.

Paul loved the Bay Area for its beauty and pioneering spirit and was determined to call it home. In 1948, he returned to the Bay Area as the 48th employee at SRI International. He returned to SRI years later as a Director and served as Chairman from 1993 to 1998.

In 1957, starting from a tiny building in Redwood City, he founded Raychem Corporation to develop commercial applications for an entirely new field – radiation chemistry. With offices in more than 40 countries and thousands of employees, Paul served as CEO of this Fortune 500 company until 1990, inspiring a new generation of innovators through his leadership.

Paul received many awards in his lifetime. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan presented Paul with the National Medal of Technology for creating a worldwide chemically based industry. He also received the Winthop Sears Medal from the Chemical Industry Association, and he was named to the San Francisco Bay Area Business Hall of Fame in 1999.

Paul, in his spirit of giving back, was very active in his alma mater, MIT, serving as Chair of the Chemical Department and becoming a Member of the MIT Corporation.

Paul loved new technology, innovators and doers. After retiring from Raychem, he was involved in many startups and new ventures. At his death, he remained as Chairman of his latest venture, Vox Frontera, Inc., a voice recognition company.

As involved as he was in technology and business, Paul was generous with his time and the sharing of his deep knowledge and experiences. He was passionate about helping those early in their careers, offering mentoring, insights, and advice. He always had time for his family and friends and was creative and fun in how he expressed his love and support for them, especially in his later years.

Paul was an active contributor to many charitable causes. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Job Train in Menlo Park, www.jobtrainworks.org, the Raychem Entrepreneurs Gallery at the San Mateo County Historical Association www.historysmc.org, or to the Paul and Marcia Cook Fund for Innovation in Chemistry at MIT https://giving.mit.edu/paul-cook.

A celebration of Paul's extraordinary life is planned and will be announced after COVID restrictions have been lifted, and we can celebrate together safely.





To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 22 to Dec. 27, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Alta Mesa Funeral Home - Palo Alto
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
15 entries
February 12, 2021
I joined Raychem in 1989 after graduation. At the Electronics Specialist training in Pontoise/France, Paul showed up a gave a passionate pitch about this new product the PolySwicth. He was so right about it. Great culture and colleagues in Raychem and great opportunity for my career. I later rejoined in TE Connectivity and a short period at Comscope. Rest in peace.
Michael Rasmussen
Raychem Denmark
Michael Rasmussen
Coworker
January 14, 2021
My father was hired by Paul Cook and Dick Muchmore in Raychem's first year. Dad learned a lot and moved on to leadership roles in the Aviation industry, but always spoke kindly about Paul. Years later, I joined Raychem and also learned a lot during my tenure. I loved my years with Raychem's "Paul Cook" culture. Great company, great man.
Jim Mathrusse
Coworker
January 14, 2021
Rest in Peace, Paul.
I remeber the day you were visiting our office in Baar/Switzerland in 1982. I was a young salesman then and was amazed that you walked towards me and said “hi Oliver, I am Paul, how are you doing?”.

Paul and Raychem inspired me very much and formed me in my young age to what I became later.

I never forget Paul, he keeps a special place in my heart.

Cheers Paul, Oliver von Borstel
Oliver F. von Borstel
Coworker
January 3, 2021
Still today, I am grateful to Paul for giving me the opportunity to be part of his dream scenario. Best years indeed (from 1980 till 1996); what an exciting and enjoyable roller coaster... may you rest in peace Paul. We will never forget you!
Jan Vansant
Coworker
January 3, 2021
I worked for Raychem for many years and enjoyed every moment. As many of us former employees agree, there was no better place to have a career. We all are so thankful for the opportunity given to us by this great man !!!
Cathy Hauptly - Formally Cathy Neves
January 1, 2021
Paul was one the best bosses I ever had, at Raychem he treated us as a family as a human beings, I’m still selling heat shrinkable tubing
An amazing person Rest In Peace
Paul, Thank you for my 25 years at Raychem
Carlos Merlo
Coworker
January 1, 2021
Thanks for more than 15 years working for Raychem in Denmark
Steen Ekgreen
Coworker
December 30, 2020
It was an honor to personally meet Paul Cook at OICW/Job Train because he was a true community leader! As another veteran, we briefly shared our military service stories and moved on for our daily business activities. Paul was down to earth type of a person with the kindness ability to move communities forward aligned with his skillful innovative business development. Personally meeting Paul Cook with his innovation in technology with many service awards recognition at local, state, and federal levels - his true leadership will be missed, and meeting Dr. Leon Sullivan, Father John Sweeney, and wonderful Sharon Williams through my OICW/Job Train family was awesome during my lifetime!

My deepest condolences and may God bless Paul's family and friends. RIP and will see you again my veteran Friend and signing off - F.C. Palesoo
F.C. Palesoo Sr.
Friend
December 28, 2020
My first job after graduating from university was at Raychem Corporation in Menlo Park. I enjoyed 15 years working in R&D and learned valuable skills that have served me well in my career. Raychem was a very special place, and I am so thankful for having met Paul and having the opportunity to make a small contribution to Raychem’s success.
Jan Johnson
Coworker
December 28, 2020
My first job after graduating from university was at Raychem Corporation in Menlo Park. I enjoyed 15 years working in R&D and learned valuable skills that have served me well in my career. Raychem was a very special place, and I am so thankful for having met Paul and having the opportunity to make a small contribution to Raychem’s success.
Jan Johnson
Coworker
December 28, 2020
I along with my wife had the opportunity to work at Raychem from 1980 - 1984. In the short time and the years that followed, I knew Raychem would be the best company I have had been with. The sense of entrepreneurial spirit combined with great comradery was unlike anywhere I have ever worked. I know that all originated with Paul Cook.
A true leader!
Keith Frazier
Coworker
December 24, 2020
Having started my professional life at Paul’s company in 1977 and spending 15 years there, I know firsthand what a class act Paul Cook is. He changed the lives of tens of thousands of us. I will forever be grateful that Raychem allowed me to succeed even though I had dropped out of college. Hard work, passion, and commitment was all that counted at the best company in the world. Some of my dearest friendships were made there. Godspeed, Paul. You are a hero to many. Our hearts are full of sadness for your family and friends, but also with gratitude for who you are.
Katherine Edel
Coworker
December 23, 2020
I am deeply saddened by the passing of this great man. Paul was an inspiration to all of us who had the privilege of being a Raychemer and knowing him. Raychem changed my life and that of my family in so many very significant ways. Paul's brilliance, kindness, and generous spirit to promote and support others will continue to live on in many generations from now on. Thank You Paul you will be remembered and loved always.
Alisan Andrews
Coworker
December 23, 2020
A life well lived.
Robert and Beth Straccia
Coworker
December 22, 2020
Heartfelt Condolences Arrangement- BASKET INCLUDED
Send Flowers and Gifts
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Tongovua Tangitau
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences