O.R. Cook Jr.
January 31, 1925 – December 21, 2020
Dr. O.R. Cook, Jr. died peacefully on Monday, December 21, 2020. He was quiet, humble, kind; a compassionate, hardworking dentist and cattle rancher. He found peace in the solitude of the plains and pastures. He loved his family and will be greatly missed.
O.R Cook, Jr. was born on January 31, 1925 in the family’s farm house near Post, TX, to Obadiah Richardson Cook and Eugenia Blair Cook. He was the tenth of twelve children and outlived all of his siblings. Life was hard growing up on a dry-land cotton farm in West Texas, but there he learned the value of hard work and perseverance. He attended one-room schools until he entered Post High School where he graduated in 1942.
That same year O.R. went on to attend Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) in Lubbock for one semester before returning home for two years to help work the family farm since his five brothers had left to serve in WWII.
He was drafted into the Army in December 1944 and sent to Camp Roberts, CA for basic training and then to Leyte, Philippines as a rifleman in the 41st Infantry Division. In September, 1945 he was sent back to the US to Camp Bowie, TX because two of his brothers were missing in action. He was honorably discharged in May, 1946, re-entered Tech, and graduated in May, 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry.
Upon graduation, O.R. went back home to work the family farm and also taught G.I. Agriculture School two nights a week in O’Donnell, TX. Wanting to attend dental school, he applied to and interviewed with several schools. One notable interview was in New Orleans when he hitch hiked to get there because he did not have a car. In March, 1950 Baylor Dental School in Dallas contacted him two days before classes commenced to tell him they had a student withdraw and if he could get to Dallas before classes started, he could enroll. He wasted no time getting to Dallas, enrolled, and then looked for a place to live eventually finding a boarding house with other dental students. He graduated in June, 1953, as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. During his residency he met and started dating a dietitian at the hospital, Lois Elaine Sutter from Paxico, KS. They were married on July 31, 1953 at First Methodist Church in Dallas, TX.
Dr. Cook put himself through Tech and dental school working multiple night and weekend jobs with modest wages and long hours. Some of these included on-campus jobs of farm-hand, file clerk, and janitor. In dental school he supported himself as a scrub nurse at the Baylor Hospital Emergency room where he worked 14 days on and 3 off. O.R. also sold programs at the Cotton Bowl, which he liked because once all the programs were sold, he could watch the rest of the game. He was quick to give credit to the G.I. bill as crucial to his ability to pay for college.
O.R.’s first job as a dentist was with a practicing dentist in Odessa, TX in August, 1953. A year later he and Elaine moved to Hobbs, NM to work in his brother’s dental practice. In 1955 they moved to Lovington, NM to establish his independent dental practice where he practiced for 47 years. Elaine and O.R. had their first child, Jane Lee Cook (Dudek) on May 23, 1958. They welcomed their son, David Dan Cook on November 29, 1960. O.R. loved his two children and took great delight in all of their activities and accomplishments.
Dr. Cook was a loyal husband, father, son, brother, and uncle to his family and always placed their best interests above his own. He was a compassionate dentist, many times receiving calls at night, weekends, and holidays by a local hospital or by someone with a toothache and he never turned them down, regardless of their ability to pay. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church in Lovington, NM most of his adult life. O.R. and Elaine moved back to Texas in 2014 after 60 years in New Mexico, to be near their children in Houston.
Dr. Cook loved being outdoors and greatly enjoyed quail hunting, gardening, and horses. He managed his own cattle business in Kansas and New Mexico while practicing dentistry. Dr. Cook was a Texas Tech Red Raider fan, attending and watching many of their football and basketball games. He cared deeply for the less fortunate, especially children.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Elaine, and daughter, Jane Cook Dudek, husband Rick Dudek, son David Dan Cook, wife Janabeth Cook. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Reece Cook, wife Kathleen Cook, Evan Cook, Jeffrey Cook, wife Bailey Cook, Jean Dudek Best, husband Matt Best, Max Dudek, and one great granddaughter, Molly Cook. Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to the United Methodist Church in Lovington, New Mexico in honor of Dr. Cook.