Obituary: Charles Gene Cook
July 8, 1922 – September 7, 2021
Charles Gene Cook, 99, of Steamboat Springs, peacefully passed away on September 7th. Gene was born on July 8, 1922 in Carrollton, Alabama, to Joseph Eugene Cook and Annie Mae Beard Cook. Joseph Eugene was a Baptist minister. He moved Gene and his siblings several times across the South to minister at various churches, ending up in Sylacauga, Alabama, where Gene finished high school in 1940. After a two-year stint at Howard College in Birmingham, AL, where he began studies for the ministry, World War II interrupted and Gene, after getting an ensign commission at Annapolis, MD, spent the war in the Pacific, fortunately not seeing any wartime action. On discharge from the military, the Navy helped fund his return to college, where he attended and graduated from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA, with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In nearby Atlanta, Gene went to work for Coca Cola performing quality control at their bottling plants across the West. In Denver, Gene met his wife, Harriett, then a United Airlines stewardess. They were married in 1948 and began raising four sons. Gene left Coca Cola in 1956, He had grown fond of inspecting the small bottling plant in Steamboat Springs, so he and Harriett purchased the Western Lodge Motel. Gene was active in his community, serving as a Councilman on the Steamboat City Council, helped establish the local chapter of Toastmasters, was a member and president of Rotary Club, and served as the local chair of the Republican Party. He joined Lowell Whiteman School, first as a math and science teacher, then later as Headmaster from 1964 to 1967. On leaving Whiteman School, Gene obtained his real estate license. He purchased property in Strawberry Park, where he and Harriett built a new home in 1973, living there the remainder of their lives. Gene enjoyed early retirement, gardening, golfing, hunting, fishing, and making many weekend trips into the mountains with his family on fishing trips. He especially loved golf and was a scratch player most of his life. He enjoyed piano, having learned to play by ear as a boy, and enjoyed regaling the senior citizens at the Community Center with his music. Gene is survived by his four sons, Bob (Robin), Mike (Hope), Steve (Sherilyn) and Bill (Sue), nine grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. He will be muchly missed. A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.
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