Gary L. Cook, age 66, of Ranchos de Taos went to be with our Lord and Saviour on January 12th after a very short illness.
Known to his family as "Pa" and a "Viking Warrior" and to his work family as "Ger Bear" and "Boss". We were not ready for him to leave us, but so thankful he is not suffering. This is a huge loss to our family, friends, and Taos community.
Gary was born in Corpus Christi, TX to Harold and Laverne Cook. His father was in the Navy, which gave him the privilege of traveling and living in many different places with so many interesting and funny stories to share about his childhood, including leaving his baby teeth behind in a rope while playing Tarzan with his big brother. His permanent teeth would later be left behind due to a baseball bat slam.
Gary graduated 21st in his class of 230 in 1970 from Tulia High School in Tulia, TX. He was known for designing the Tulia Hornet Mascot which is still in use today and proudly displayed on the town's water tower.
Gary was loved and appreciated by all who knew him. His work ethic was impeccable and he was very proud of that. He taught hundreds in the grocery business in his quiet, subtle, and expertise way. At times, when he would have to manage the produce department, he would have the freshest and most perfect beautiful counter in town. People were always bragging on his produce. He took much pride in passing his skill down to his son, Logan. Customers would always see them working side by side perfecting their art together and making many friends along the way, including all the elderly ladies coming in to get their sweet hugs.
Gary started his grocery career at 18 years old while studying Commercial Art at West Texas State University and Texas State Technical Institute. Piggly Wiggly quickly acknowledged his skill and advanced him to management. He managed many other stores throughout his career making many fun and loving memories along the way. Along with Piggly Wiggly were B & R Thriftway in Tulia, Big Save, which was later bought by Food King in Amarillo, TX. Food King was then bought by Emory Russell.
God's plan was that the Russell's would later become family through the marriage of their grandson, Dustin, to our daughter, Amber. Gary was then transferred to Portales, New Mexico in 2000 and worked at Russell's Super Save and then on to the Super Save in Taos, New Mexico for the last 18 years. Gary and his wife, Kim, met while working at Food King in Amarillo and shared the love of the grocery business for many years together. Their daughters Shana, Amanda, and Amber also worked with them at Food King along with three of their nephews.
Family gatherings were always fun grocery talk through the years due to a son, daughters, sons-in-law, and wife's father all sharing in the grocery store life.
Gary leaves behind the love of his life and best friend, Kim. With pride and joy in birth order: daughter, Shana McDowell and husband Sy of Tulia, TX. Daughter, Amanda Goins and husband Jason of Portales, NM. Daughter, Amber Russell and husband Dustin of Taos, NM. Son, Aaron Cook and wife Jeanelle of Rowlett, TX. Son, Logan Cook of Taos, NM. Also in birth order, his grandbabies: JT, Machaela, Josh, Damian, Ashlynne, Jordyn, Elijah, Strong, Bright, Brave, Noble, and Legacy. His brothers: Doug "Cookie" Cook and wife Debra of White Deer, TX and Davey Cook of Tulia, TX. His fur babies and loyal companions, Sugar and Spice.
Gary will be missed by many and remembered as a loving, kind, loyal, humble, honest, and hardworking man. We cannot leave out the fact that he has been a fan of the Viking heritage since he was a young boy, as well as the Minnesota Vikings! #VikingStrong; There will be a memorial service in the spring when his beautiful green grass, trees, and flowers are blooming.
Thank you to our friend and a great physician, Lucas Schreiber and Mountain Home Health during this very difficult time. Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home, Taos. To share a memory, please visit our website at www.riverafuneralhome.com
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