Funeral services for Edmond ‘Ed’ Arthur Cook, age 81, will be at 11:00 AM on Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds Auditorium in Lusk, WY.
A memorial has been established, and donations may be made to the Chadron State Foundation - Cook Family Endowment. P.O. Box 1210 Chadron, NE, 69337, or sent to the LuskSeniorCenter.
He was a veteran in the U.S. Army, serving from 1958 to 1960.
He passed away on November 2, 2017 in Artesia, NM following several years of declining health. He was born in Lusk, WY, on April 12, 1936 to Julia Mae Black Cook and Edmond Mill Cook.
Following high school graduation in 1953, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming, where was a member of the Farm House and Alpha Zeta fraternities, a member of the Ag Club 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, WY in January 1958. They had many common interests including square dancing.
Ed served two years in the U.S. Army after which the young couple returned to the family ranch in the Hat Creek community northeast of Lusk, WY. There they became parents of Tena in 1962. They were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 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 at Dr. Don 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 self-determined thesis project.
The family moved to Pine Bluffs, WY, 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 CountyExtension work in Stapleton, NE from 1969 to 1971, where he led several range judging contests.
In 1972, the Cooks moved to ScottsBluffCounty, where Ed continued as a County Extension Agent. He assisted with 4-H and helped local residents with a wide variety of plant and tree issues. He commuted from a small farm northeast of Henry, NE and also raised cattle, performed bovine eye cancer surgery and irrigated alfalfa and corn.
They moved to Torrington, WY in 1976, where Ed worked as an instrument technician at Holly Sugar and was responsible for at least two inventions that gained efficiency for the company and convenience for the customer. Following the death of his father in 1983, Ed returned to the family ranch northeast of Lusk where he and Vina worked until her death in 1993. He utilized genetic data to improve his herd, participated annually in the Wyoming Beef Cattle Improvement Assoc. Bull Test and competed in livestock shows at the Wyoming State Fair, as well as carcass judging competitions.
He married Sally Rodriguez Grayson in 2001. They spent time at their home in Carlsbad, NM near her daughter Billie and family from Sally’s first marriage, as well as on the family ranch in Wyoming until his death. He enjoyed being “Peepaw” to Autumn and Faith, taking them to the library, working on projects together, attending cultural performances and making balloon animals for their childhood birthday parties.
In 2004, Ed patented an articulated gate for use with livestock in snowy climates. He showcased it in an inventor’s fair in Billings, MT and a statewide inventor’s exhibition at the state fair.
His love of the land and livestock was evidenced through his membership in Farm Bureau where he developed and presented legislation. From 1986 to 1992, he served as the NiobraraCountyFB president and during this time led the effort to organize and host a “Meet the Candidates” forum before elections. He also served as the Republican precinct committee chair for a number of years when voting took place in the HatCreekSchool and Hat Creek Stage Station.
In addition to livestock, Ed had many dogs, cats and other pets over his lifetime. He also enjoyed making and solving mechanical puzzles, camping, hunting and fishing. He learned leather work at a young age and judged leather work at several county and state fairs as an adult.
History was of special interest to Ed. He took part in a 1965 re-enactment of an 1880s Cheyenne-Deadwood stagecoach hold-up when his grandfather was a driver for the line. He was active in the Niobrara County Historical Society, the StagecoachMuseum and wrote a column for the Lusk Herald from 1989-1991 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 Wyoming Pioneer Association and participated in the Lusk Rawhide Pageant, portraying mountain man Jim Bridger and assisting with the covered wagon prayer scene. Vina sometimes called him "Community Ed" based on his time spent with civic service.
He was preceded in death by infant brother Stanley, parents Edmond and Julia, and wife Vina. Survivors include daughter Tena, of Chadron, NE, wife Sally “Memaw” of Carlsbad, NM, stepdaughter Billie McDonald and her husband, Vance, and their children, Autumn and Faith, of Carlsbad, NM, and many relatives and friends.
Pier Funeral Home in Lusk, WY is in charge of arrangements for Edmond ‘Ed’ Arthur Cook.