Obituary: Thomas James Cook

Sep. 27, 1929 - April 25, 2013

Thomas James Cook, husband, father, friend, civic leader and proud Marine, passed away Thursday, April 25th at Carson Tahoe Hospital while surrounded by his loving family.

Born in Bogard, Missouri on Sep. 27th, 1929 and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas, Tom showed an early interest in music, playing the piano before finding the instrument he came to master and love, the trumpet. In his early teens, Tom started his own band, “Tommy’s Tunes”, playing the big-band and jazz sounds which he enjoyed throughout life. Tom’s skills with the trumpet allowed him to play with the likes of Louis Prima and Sam Butera as they began their rise to fame.

On joining the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 1948, Tom started a thirty year career and a life-long association with the Corps which he considered his extended family to the end. He loyally served as a Master Gunnery Sergeant with deployments to both Korea and Vietnam. While he chose to speak little of his time in the service, such as surviving the battle of Chosin Reservoir, Tom did not hesitate to share how the Corps allowed him to continue his love of music as a Band Master with the Marine Corps Band.

Upon retiring from the Marine Corps, Tom settled at Topaz Lake where he worked for John Arden on the Fairfield Ranch and the development of what became Topaz Ranch Estates. Upon moving to the Carson Valley, Tom entered into several post-retirement careers, increasingly focusing his efforts on the betterment of our community and state. Many witnessed Tom’s no-nonsense approach to management and problem solving as he served as a member and Board Chairman on the Gardnerville Town Board, with the Nevada Rural Housing Association and the Gardnerville Water Company. Among his many awards for community service, he was recognized as the 2004 Nevada League of Cities Public Official of the Year.

An active member in the Carson Valley Lions Club for over forty years, Tom was involved in many civic projects, but some stood out as of great importance to him. He was conferred as a Charter Life Member of the Blind Center of Nevada for his support of their organization and one of his many youth-oriented interests resulted in the creation of the Thomas J. Cook Fellowship to recognize outstanding support for the Lions Club Student Speakers Contest.

In all aspects of his career, civic and family lives, upholding the ethics and integrity of the Corps was of utmost importance and guided his actions.

Tom is survived by his “Beautiful Wife”, Rose; sister, Sue Harmon of Lawrence, Kansas; daughters, Tammy Duhs (Colonel Thomas Duhs, USMC), Laura Towner (Jim Jackson) and Wendy Hall; sons, Thomas Michael Cook and Douglas Towner (Stephen Mergenmeier); grandchildren, Amy Schommer (Jason Schommer), Captain Thomas Matthew Duhs USMC (Emily Duhs), Cassandra Hall and Madison Hall.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Cook; daughter, Kathleen Jo Cook; and brother, Alex Cook.

A memorial service will be held at a later date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, Tom would have preferred any contributions be directed to Lion’s District 46 Student Speaker’s Foundation, Inc., 4450 Meadow Wood Rd., Carson City, NV 89703

Known by some as Tom, by others as TJ, Bubba, Uncle Tom or Papa, his absence will be felt by many. Semper Fi Master Gunnery Sergeant Cook, you will be missed. . .

Final arrangements entrusted to Walton’s Funerals and Cremations, Gardnerville, Nevada.


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