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Columbia Missourian

Kenneth Cook enjoyed nature and being around groups of people

By Ayano Shimizu
January 9, 2013 | 6:33 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Kenneth Cook was a loving man — he loved his family, friends and animals.

"He met no strangers," Connie Boatman-Brissette said, describing her younger brother.

He had many friends whom he liked to be with, Tonnie Cook, his wife, said. He liked to play cards with the members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Mr. Cook died Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, at his home. He was 56. He had lung cancer and diabetes for more than two years.

Mr. Cook was born Dec. 30, 1956, in Columbia, to Robert E. and Helen O. (Rice) Cook.

Mr. Cook started working as a truck driver when he was 19 years old, Tonnie Cook said. "He drove dump trucks and over-the-road trucks," she said. Brissette said he owned his own truck.

He was also a bartender and a cook at Lucy's Bar & Grill in McBaine, where Tonnie  Cook worked as well. He proposed to her at a Christmas party at the restaurant. The two ran a campground called Katfish Katy's in Huntsdale. The two got married at the campground beside the river at sunset on Oct. 26, 2007.

He worked as a driver until he first found out that he was sick in November 2010, Ms. Cook said. He was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2011 and lung cancer in Jan 2012. 

He loved fishing since he was young, Brissette said. When he was 4-years-old, he caught a four-pound bass with a wooden rod at a small pond at the family's farm. His father had to jump in the pond to get the bass.

Tonnie Cook said he continued fishing as an adult. 

Mr. Cook also loved animals. He had three dogs at home: Zeus, Artemis and Sissy, and he just got a new puppy, Thor, for his 56th birthday on Dec. 30.

"The dogs were like his little kids," Ms. Brisette said. "The dogs loved him, protected him and were always beside him — always. They were best buddies — all of them," she said.

Mr. Cook is survived by his wife, Tonnie, and his son, Ryan and wife, Kathy of Columbia; two sisters, Connie Boatman-Brisette of Columbia, Joann Moreau and husband, Donnie, of Rocheport; three grandchildren, Brittany, Cara and Robert Cook of Columbia; four stepsons, Dell Vanderpool and wife, Christy, Jerry Vanderpool, Richard Wright Jr. and Robert Wright, all of Columbia; four stepgrandchildren; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

His parents, his brother, Robert Cook, and a granddaughter died earlier.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave. Services will be at 1 p.m. Friday at Northwood Baptist Church, 2345 E. Northwood Drive.

Condolences and tributes can be posted at