Lansing, Michigan

Paul G. Cook passed into eternal life on April 12, 2016, at the age of 89. Paul was born February 3, 1927, to Fred and Lucille (Lawler) Cook. He was the youngest of three sons. Paul went all the way through school at Resurrection, graduating in 1945. He entered Michigan State that fall and received his bachelor and master’s degrees.

Paul’s first teaching and coaching job was at St. John’s High School in Jackson, where he had four very successful years coaching all major sports and serving as teacher and athletic director.

In 1953 his high school alma mater called him back to Lansing to take the position of teacher and coach of basketball, football and baseball. He and his growing family were happy to return to their roots. By 1962 other coaches were hired and Paul’s coaching duties were limited to basketball. Gabriels High opened in the ’63/64 school year where he stayed teaching, coaching, serving as athletic director and eventually assistant principal until 1972. At that time he was hired to be Lansing Eastern’s varsity basketball coach. He also taught Government and American History. In 1980 the Eastern Quakers were the State of Michigan Class A Basketball champions. It was a thrilling time for all of the Cooks. Then after he “retired” Paul coached the girls basketball team at Lansing Catholic to a State Championship in 1995. Paul had been inducted into several Halls of Fame including Michigan Basketball Association, Greater Lansing and National Coaches Hall of Fame. He was also nominated while at Eastern to National Coach of the Year honors.

Despite all of Paul’s glorious career, his greatest pride was in his family. He and wife Mary Ellen (Wygant) were married in 1948 and were blessed with 13 children, 27 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, 2 step-granddaughters and 2 step-great-grandchildren. They will all remember his regaling them with his versions of stories, such as Jack in the Beanstalk and his resounding Fe Fi Fo Fum. Or the famous Boy Who Cried Wolf. His rendition of The Night Before Christmas was the best, even left for posterity in a recorded version.

Paul enjoyed many wonderful accomplishments, none of which he was more proud than his loving family and his Catholic Faith. Paul was a good and faithful servant. He was a reader and Eucharistic minister at Resurrection for many years.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Fred and Richard (Amy), sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Genevieve and Franklin Spedoske, Louise and Ken Heuss. He is survived by his wife and children, Christine Thwaites, Linda Pollock, Steven Cook, Patricia (Larry) Kreisler, Mary Jo Cook, Tom (Nell) Cook, Sandra (John) Parker, Joe (Gloria) Cook, Fred (Jane) Cook, Diane (Jim) Woods, Karen (Todd) Taylor, Kathy Lowe and Debra Cook and all those grandchildren and greats. His sister-in-law, Peg Cook and many much loved and loving nieces and nephews survive him. Paul will be missed by so many for his love, humor and understanding heart.

The family wishes to thank McLaren Hospice for their tender loving care.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 15, 2016, at The Church of the Resurrection. The Rite of Committal will follow at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. His family will receive friends from 2-8 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. Vigil Service on Thursday at the church. Visitation will continue at 10:00 a.m. on Friday at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Church of the Resurrection or charity of your choice in Paul’s name. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.

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10 Messages to “Paul G. Cook”

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  1. 10
    Ron Mescall, Sr. Says:

    I am most grateful to have known Paul Cook, Mary Ellen, and his family. Paul was certainly an inspirational person in my life. I taught school for 45 years and also coached. I worked at Resurrection while a student at MSU and met some really terrific kids and families. I never really measured up to Paul’s standards but always looked up to him along the way. Certainly I was never perfect. A time I will always remember was picking up the keys on the hook inside the door of his house behind the church and sometimes I would interrupt their dinner. There was always a kindness that was generated from their home. He will always be remembered not just because of his excellent coaching and teaching, but because of his greatness as a family man. He was an outstanding person. Thanks coach!

    Ron Mescall, Sr.
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  2. 9
    Wend Gelispie Says:

    Mr Cook was my home room teacher. The first person I saw in the moring at Eastern High School. We had some great morning together. I will miss seeing him on tv coaching the basketball team.

  3. 8
    John F. Mertz Says:

    Coach was a model for us all. He and Mrs. Cook helped my Mom make it to church and back regularly in her later years. When he was coaching. Kind, gentle and dignified are great descriptions.

  4. 7
    Jon Hayes Says:

    To Joe and the Cook Family:
    Your dad inspired many of us to become coaches and make a difference in the lives of young people. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with him at a CYL game where he simply said, “Teach and reinforce the fundamentals, and be there for them when they need you.” Right on, Coach! Godspeed.

  5. 6
    Mary Jo Cook Says:

    The words are the same as everyones…..kind, gentle, dignified. The most loving man, husband ,father and grandfather in the world. Never a harsh word. He accepted everyone for who they were . An even more important teacher outside the classroom. I learned something everyday from my father, even on his last day. Someone once ask Dad how he wanted to be remembered. I know they expected to hear about his success as a coach. But when he answered “as a kind person”, he had already accomplished that and was a success. I love and adore you Daddy.

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