DENVER, Colorado -- Morris L. Cook, 90, former resident of McCook, Nebraska, passed away on Jan 3, 2011, at his home in Denver.
He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on Dec. 21, 1920, the son of the late W.L. "Lafe" and Carolyn "Cookie" (Blair) Cook. When he was two years old, the family moved to McCook. His salesmanship abilities were evident at a young age when he began selling cold milk to workers in local shops and popcorn on Saturday nights on the streets of McCook. He also sold garden seeds, magazines, and even his father's favorite winter onions.
In September of 1948, he married Marcella Rolenc at St. Mary's Cathedral in Lincoln. They moved to Denver where he enrolled at the University of Denver. In May of 1950, he began his professional career as a pharmaceutical salesman with Lakeside Laboratories, working Colorado, western Nebraska, and parts of Wyoming and Montana.
After 25 years, the company was sold, and he then worked for 10-plus years for Purdue-Frederick, another pharmaceutical company, from which he retired in 1986. He was a top salesman, always rated as one of the top 10 in the nation, and once was the number one salesman in the nation.
A convert to Catholicism in 1964, he eagerly became active in the mission of the church. He accepted the mandate to become an Eucharistic minister and volunteered to take Communion to Catholic men and women at Sable Care Center. After his wife became an Eucharistic minister they went together to the Sable Center for almost 30 years.
After he retired from the pharmaceutical trade he also began taking Communion one Thursday a month to several homebound people; he enjoyed visiting with the elderly people. He did volunteer work on Tuesdays at the Medical Center of Aurora, Colorado for 20 years.
He also enjoyed playing golf several times a week with his friends. It was with great reluctance when his need to use oxygen, and a bad hip, forced him in 2006 to cease all that activity.
In 1989, he and Marcella took a vacation trip to Australia and New Zealand. An ad in the Denver Catholic Register in 1992 about a trip to Greece, led by Father John Gibbons, enticed them to join the group. That led to subsequent trips with that group to China, the Scandinavian countries, Russia, several central European countries, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Jerusalem, Jordan, Egypt, and Great Britain. They also enjoyed cruises to Alaska, a trip through the Panama Canal, and visiting almost all of the 50 states. He said the most special trip was to Rome to witness Marcella's cousin, Archbishop Jerome Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa, receive the pallium from Pope John Paul II and the audience with the Pope.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Thomas; niece, Michelle Cook; and great-grandson, Riley Preece.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marcella; four children, William of Houston, Texas, Carol Ann and husband, James Lemon of McCook, Steven and wife, Janine of Tampa, Florida, and Kenneth and wife, Jackie of Greeley, Colorado; eight grandchildren, Kim Maum, Justin Cook, Jennifer Preece, Katie Hughes, Erin Annis, Samantha Cook, Karly Vance, and Zachary Cook; nine great-grandchildren, Josie, Nicholas, Madison, Nathaniel, Carina, Gwen, Kassidee, Jackson, and Emerson; in-laws, Robert and Pauline Boboril, Notre Dame Sisters Anita Rolenc and Karen Rolenc, and Ruth Cook; six nephews; many family and friends.
Services and burial were Jan. 7, in Aurora.
Whatever he did, his pharmaceutical work, the volunteer work, travel, golfing, he enjoyed it all to the fullest and found much satisfaction in every phase of his life. In his own words: "It has been a wonderful life." He will be missed by all of us.