Born in Bogard, Missouri, September 27th, 1929 and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas, Tom Cook passed away April 25th at the age of 83.
Upon joining the United States Marine Corps in 1948, Tom started a thirty year career and a life-long association with the Corps which he considered his extended family to the end. During those years, Tom was often involved in musical ventures, including creating musical arrangements for the military, which sent him to study music at the Anacostia U.S. Naval Academy in Washington, D.C., in 1949.
He served as a Master Gunnery Sergeant with deployments to both Korea and Vietnam, surviving the battle of Chosin Reservoir. While he didn’t speak much of his combat experiences, Tom did not hesitate to share how the Corps allowed him to continue his love of music as a Band Master with the Marine Corps Band, known as “The President’s Own.”
His career also led him to play with Tennessee Ernie Ford, Louis Prima and Sam Butera and Tommy Dorsey. Tom even appeared on the television show, “The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour,” in 1971.
After retiring from the Marines, he moved to Nevada, where he helped develop the Topaz Ranch Estates and Fairfield Ranch. Tom also ran for local office, serving on the Gardnerville Town Board from 1994 to 2010, earning the 2004 Nevada League of Cities Public Official of the Year.
In 1999, he joined the Nevada Rural Housing Authority. Tom would played a key role in creating the ‘Home at Last Program,’ which has put more than 1,500 rural Nevadans into their first homes.
After leaving the town board, he took time to relax and pursue his hobbies including camping, travel, woodwork and gardening. But these secondary passions were only diversions from music and the Marine Corps.
“He knew how to blow a trumpet,” his wife, Rose told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “And he also knew how to pull a trigger.”