SFC George Edwin Cook (U.S. Army, Retired), 89, a distinguished Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, passed onto God on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, with his wife Margaret holding his hand, and his children Jeanie and George at his bedside.
A graveside service with full military honors will be held from 1:30 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 Cave Creek Road in Phoenix. A celebration of life will follow at his children’s home for family and friends.
Although George was born in Springfield, Ohio, he became an Arizonan when his father moved to Arizona with 6-month-old George and his two sisters in 1928.
Young George, always an animal lover, rode his horses Mike and Tony, earning him the nickname “Cactus Pete.” He raced cars at Manzanita Speedway and motorcycles wherever he could find a race. He helped his Dad mining for gold in their homestake outside of Morristown. George worked as a mechanic at a crop duster outside of Sky Harbor, where he learned to fly. George loved to fly. He built plastic, wood and flying airplane models most of his life.
He joined the Army Reserves early and worked at the SRP district in between tours of duty. In 1950, he requested active duty, and attended the command school at Ft. Ord, Calif. After graduation, George served as infantry in the Korean War. He was mustered out after the war, staying in the Army Reserves. He went back to work at SRP.
During this time his Army buddy Gerald Atteberry introduced him to his wife’s sister, Margaret. After a short courtship, George married the love of his life on July 31, 1955. They had a daughter, Marcella Jean a few months later.
In 1958, a few months after the birth of his son, George Edwin, he left SRP and requested active duty once again. He entered the Army as an SP5 in the 3rd Armored Division until he changed his military occupational specialty to aviation in 1960.
George Cook served out the rest of his career as a fixed wing crew chief. He was known and loved as “Pappy” by all of his guys. Over the years he was stationed (in chronological order) at Ft. Carson, Camp Casey in South Korea (with the 7th Aviation Division), Ft. Jackson, Ft. Huachuca, a third tour of South Korea, Ft. Eustis, Germany, Vietnam (with the 221st Reconnaissance Airplane Company), Ft. Eustis, a second tour of Vietnam, Ft. Bragg, Panama and Ft. Hood. He retired Dec. 31, 1977, after a total of almost 26 years of distinguished service. He received numerous awards, including the Korean War Service Medal, Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Cold War Medal, two Vietnam Gallantry Cross Medals (one was a Unit Medal, the second medal included a V for Valor and was presented to him by Premier Ky for pulling a South Vietnamese pilot out of a burning plane), Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Service Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Permanent Aircraft Crew Badge and a number of Good Conduct Medals.
George and his family returned home to Arizona in 1978 (after the Army finally released him on Jan. 31, 1978). He became a grandpa in March 1979. In 1980, George, Margaret, their son George and grandson Corky moved from Phoenix to his Dad’s homestake and worked the mine from 1980-1988.
In 1988, George and Margaret moved from Morristown to 40 acres of property in the Snowflake/Concho area, where he built a home for his wife and raised lots of animals. He lived out the remainder of his years there.
George was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the National Rifle Association.
He was predeceased by his father, George Leonard Cook III; his mother, Alma Lea (Harris) Bizallion; his stepfather, Eugene Bizallion; his sisters, Dorothy and Vivian; and his great-grandson, Dustin Alan Huey.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Margaret Jean (Figgins) Cook; his daughter, Marcella Jean Cook; his son, George Edwin Cook V and daughter-in-law Mary Christine (Sartor) Cook; his brothers, Norman Bizallion and his family, and Don Bizallion and his family.
George was blessed with five grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson. Listing by families they are: George Edwin Cook VI, his wife Lisa Ann (Smith) Cook, and their children, Loralei Madisson Cook, Alison Kennedi Cook, Emma Trinity Cook and McKenna Nicole Cook; Desiree Christine Cook, her husband Peter Michael Huey, and their children, Amanda Christine Cook and her son Tobias Jaxon Alan Edwards, Troy Daniel Huey, Rachel Elizabeth Cook, Peter Tony Cook, Nolan Ryan Cook, Margaret Jean Cook, Lexie Michele Huey and Wyatt Lee Huey; Karl David Evans, his wife Desiree Serrano Evans and their son, Joshua David Evans; Eric Allen Evans; and Toni Jo Meghan (Imperial) Lapre, her husband Sean Francois Lapre and their son, Damian Francois Lapre.
George also left behind his three dogs, Hutch, Hazel and Tippy, his seven cats, Melvin the goose and three ducks.
Silver Creek Mortuary of Taylor was in charge of the arrangements.