In Loving Memory

Ronald Cook

Ronald Cook

June 22nd, 1931 - August 12th, 2019


Friday, August 16th, 2019   6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Charter Funerals,
5000 Blue Ridge Cutoff,
Kansas City Missouri 64133


To know Ron Cook was to know a man who was steady and present during the most difficult of circumstances, but he demanded no attention. Indeed, he was preceded in death by his wife Sheila, her father Leslie, her sister Rita, Rita's husband Harry and Rita's dear friend later in life Luis. To understand Ron during the last 50 years of his life is to understand him beside the six of these individuals and the ones they loved. Ron never demanded center stage, but he was always there to support. And he was always ready to talk with that joyful tone that was ... well, maybe a little too loud sometimes.

Ron was a man who loved the water. He worked in the Merchant Navy for Great Britain in the 1950s. If you could follow his tales of adventure around the world, they almost sounded unbelievable. His sailings included going back and forth on a banana boat to Jamaica as well as long voyages Mozambique and Texas hauling petroleum. A child in WWII, he experienced the German bombings first-hand in England. And he had a deep knowledge of geography and World War II.

A vast treasure trove of stories, he was the family's historian. It was he who could tell the story of Harry's role in America's first psychological operations unit or of Leslie's tax troubles in the UK causing them to immigrate to America. It was also he who filmed his nephew's riding motorcycles in the 60s, took photos at family gatherings in the 70s and used the Camcorder at pool parties in the 80s and 90s.

I think everyone can smile when they recall Ron at the top of the stairs near his sunroom trading British sayings between Rita's American-raised grandkids while they played in the above-ground pool. Yes, Ron's love of the water probably started as a boy growing up near the ocean in Clevedon, England. It continued through the Merchant Navy and ultimately to he and Sheila's above-ground pool, the site of countless summer gatherings, birthday parties and any excuse to get together. These parties often transpired outside in the pool or in the basement -- a time warped setting of something that we imagine a 1950s British pub to be replete with a dartboard, bar and high-top tables. And just maybe there was a Beefeaters Gin mirror. Just maybe.

If Ron loved the water and the boats of the Merchant Navy, he changed his love to America's Riverboats, specifically the casino kind. It was there that he and Sheila played slot machines and developed a friend network that many of us probably will never know. We can assume, however, that he lifted the spirits of his friends just as he did with those who counted him as family. If you ever had the privilege of having him at your dinner table or your Christmas table, you don't have to think too hard to imagine the lift he would have given his fellow River boaters.

Ron spent much of his career in the United States as a machinist for Marshall Tool and later TWA Airlines.

Lastly, Sheila and his love of their generations of Yorkshire Terriers and Dachshunds was unmatched. In many ways these dogs were their children over the last forty years.

Ron was a jovial man. He was quick with a joke and happy to turn a phrase. He was interested in who you were and your life. His strong accent was sometimes difficult to understand if you didn't know him very well, but it never undercut the fact that he was interested in talking to you. He leaves us an important legacy. Be interested in those around you and the ones around those that you love. Don't stop when trouble comes or when family structures change. And don't stop being interested 50 years later.


  • Wed, Aug 14th, 2019 at 10:00 AM

    Thank you Ron for taking Sheila and my mom everywhere in their last years. May your next life be as
    adventurous as this one was. All you people from England (my mom, Sheila, Grandpa, and
    you Ron) have shown a courageous attitude that I wish I had. To leave a country that you
    loved and come and not only persevere but succeed is truly amazing.

    Chris and Francey, Lees Summit

  • Tue, Aug 13th, 2019 at 5:34 PM

    I wanted to add a nice memory I had of Ron from just last year. I had taken Ron to a few WWII
    movies over the last five years. When Dunkirk came out last year he was able not only to share with
    me how we was a boy at the train station when the soldiers were being rescued back home to
    England, but also shared with me a medal that one of those returning soldiers handed him that day
    over 70 years ago..

    Thomas Woodward, MO

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