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.