Mr. Speaker, recently my community unexpectedly lost one of its foremost citizens. Gene Cook, an elected official and community leader for nearly four decades, passed away on February 15th, 2002.
Ever the gentleman, Gene went about moving our community and its citizens forward. As the longest serving member to date on the Toledo City Council, Gene's influence can be felt through a legion of initiatives and projects throughout Northwest Ohio.
Born in a west Tennessee farming community, Gene moved with his family to Cleveland when he was a boy. There he developed true passion and skill for sports that always remained an integral part of his life. After completing wartime service in Korea, Gene enrolled in the University of Toledo where he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. He want on to a professional football career and until permanently sidelined by injury, he played for the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Baltimore Colts.
Gene began his tenure in public service in 1967 with his election to the Toledo City Council. He served in various capacities on the Council, including thirteen years as vice mayor and three years as council president. He retired from the Council in 1997 after thirty years of able service. Beginning in 1977 and continuing to his death. Gene was also the general manager of Toledo's Triple A baseball team, the Mud Hens. A skilled marketer, Gene guided the club through many innovations including its last, a move to a new stadium in downtown Toledo this spring.
A family man at heart, Gene together with his wife of 45 years, Marion, reared three children: John, Gary, and Shelley. The Toledo Blade noted that ``in spite of all his public accomplishments, his greatest accomplishment was his family. HIs pride in family was the very essence of Gene. His joy in life was having his wife and children and grandchildren with him.'' No truer or finer testament may be given to a man.
We extend our sympathy to Marion, to her children and grandchildren, to Gene's sister and brother, Betty and Bill, and to his many friends and relatives. As they set out on this difficult journey and carrying Gene in their hearts, may his legacy to them and our city help carry them through.
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