Richard ‘Rich’ Gale Cook


Richard "Rich" Gale Cook, 89, of Cleveland, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in his home, surrounded by family.

Rich was born on Nov. 27, 1933, in Lawrenceville, Illinois, to parents of Elfreda and John Cook. After graduating from Bridgeport High School, in 1951, Rich worked in the family restaurant at "Cook's Confectionary" and later at Standard Oil Refinery in Chicago, Illinois. Rich joined the United States Air Force in 1953 and served his country for 20 years, serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He married the love of his life, Vonda Harbaugh, on April 3, 1954, and had six children. After retiring from the Air Force, he was self-employed for one year and then was employed by Bishop Baking Company for 24 years. He was baptized at the age of 36 into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in which he served as a deacon, elder, and his passion as the pathfinder director and executive council, serving 43 years.

His hobbies included woodworking, hiking, beekeeping, cookouts, gardening, fishing and traveling. His greatest passion above all was God and his family. He exemplified the character of Christ and touched every life he came in contact with in so many ways. He loved life, loved to laugh and loved to joke. He had deep compassion for others, even strangers, and always greeted everyone with a smiling face. He was an amazing man.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and older brother.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Vonda Cook; his brother, Don Cook; sister, Marcia Linville; children, Jeffery Cook (Diane) of Sequim, Washington, Pamela Lassiter (David) of Cleveland, James Cook (Tina) of Cleveland, Janice Cook of Puyallup, Washington, Eric Cook of Cleveland and Tricia Micklewright (Clay) of Cleveland; 18 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

He now rests peacefully awaiting the second coming of Jesus on that glorious resurrection day with trumpets sounding. Oh, what a day that will be!

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, 2023, at Companion Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held at Bowman Hills Church on Monday at 10 a.m., followed by graveside services at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Family is requesting in lieu of flowers, that memorial donations be sent to Bowman Hills Church for the Richard Cook Pathfinder Fund, 300 Westview Drive, Cleveland, TN 37311.



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