Funeral services for Edmond Arthur Cook, 81, will be Monday, Nov. 13, at 11 a.m. at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds Auditorium. He died Nov. 2, 2017, in Artesia, N.M. following several years of declining health.
He was born in Lusk, Wyo. April 12, 1936, to Julia Mae Black Cook and Edmond Mill Cook. He attended his early school years at Hat Creek School.
Following high school graduation in 1953, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming where he was a member of the Farm House and Alpha Zeta fraternities and president of Collegiate 4-H. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1957. At UW he met and married Vina Arlene Lacy of Chugwater, Wyo., January 30, 1958.
Ed served two years in the U.S. Army, after which the young couple resided on the family ranch in the Hat Creek community northeast of Lusk, Wyo. There they became parents of Tena in 1962. They were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in November 1964. The family was sealed in the Idaho Falls temple in 1970.
The couple returned to Laramie so Ed could pursue further education. He worked for Dr. Allen’s veterinary clinic and earned his master’s degree in animal husbandry in 1967. He applied for and received a patent for a beef back fat probe he invented during his graduate work.
The family moved to Pine Bluffs where Ed worked for the Laramie County Extension Service branch office for about two years. He enjoyed coaching 4-H judging teams and working with junior leaders. Ed continued his County Extension work in Stapleton, Neb., from 1969 to 1971.
In 1972, the Cooks moved to Scotts Bluff County where Ed continued his County Extension work. He also raised cattle and corn on a small farm northeast of Henry, Neb., during these years.
They moved to Torrington in 1976 and Ed worked as an instrument technician at Holly Sugar and was responsible for at least two inventions that gained efficiencies for the company and convenience for customers. Following the death of his father in 1983, he returned to the family ranch northeast of Lusk where he and Vina worked until her death in 1993.
He married Sally Rodriguez Grayson in 2000. They spent time at their home in Carlsbad, N.M., near her daughter Billie and her family from Sally’s first marriage, as well as on the family ranch in Wyoming until his death.
In 2004, Ed patented an articulated gate for use with livestock in snowy climates. He was invited to participate in an inventor’s fair in Billings, Mont., and a statewide inventor’s exhibition at the state fair.
His love of the land and livestock was evidenced through his long-time membership in Farm Bureau. From 1986 to 1992 he served as the Niobrara County FB president and organized and hosted a “Meet the Candidates” forum before elections. He also served as the Republican precinct committee chair.
History was of special interest to Ed. He was active in the Niobrara County Historical Society, the Stagecoach Museum and wrote a column for the Lusk Herald titled “Dateline Hat Creek”. He chaired the local Wyoming Centennial committee and organized numerous family reunions where he served cream can dinners. He was instrumental in documenting and creating signage for the Hat Creek Stage Station and the restored redwood water tower in Lusk. He was an active member of the Pioneer Association and participated in the Rawhide Pageant.
He was preceded in death by his younger brother Stanley James, his parents, and his wife, Vina. His survivors include his daughter, Tena, of Chadron, Neb., his wife, Sally of Carlsbad, N.M., his step-daughter, Billie McDonald and her husband, Vance, and their children, Autumn and Faith, of Carlsbad, N.M. and many relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in his name with checks written to: Chadron State Foundation - Cook Family Endowment. P.O. Box 1210 Chadron, NE, 69337.