Dale John Cook

April 2, 1926February 28, 2019

When 18-year-old Dale Cook landed on Iwo Jima in February 1945, his commanding officer put a rifle in his hand and told him and his Marine comrades to capture the south airfield.

That’s what Cook did. And in the 36 days that followed — five weeks of some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II — Cook and his fellow Marines dodged bullets, slogged through mud, took cover in ditches and overtook key enemy positions in the hills of the remote South Pacific Island.

But not without cost. In all, 6,800 U.S. service members died in the ferocious battle. Every man in his squad except for him, Cook said, was killed. Cook himself was wounded in the back and leg by a grenade and evacuated to a hospital ship.

Cook died Feb. 28 of natural causes at his home in Brentwood. He was 92 and among the last survivors of the Iwo Jima battlefield.

A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Cook enlisted in the Marines in 1944 while still in high school and trained on a mortar crew. After the war, he joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the first of many veterans groups. Cook led an annual commemoration of the battle for many years, first at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, and then at the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco. He returned to Iwo Jima three times, for reunions.

After the war, Cook graduated from Washington State University and went on to a four-decade career as a newspaperman in Washington State and as a public relations officer for the Atomic Energy Commission, where he assisted reporters covering nuclear weapons tests in the Nevada desert. In later years, he was a U.S. Army Reserve public information officer at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Cook was a Sierra hiker, a Boy Scout troop leader and a devoted raiser of English bulldogs, the Marines’ mascot. He enjoyed showing the dogs in local shows and acting as a dog show judge. His home was a Marine Corps museum stuffed with books, maps, artifacts, photos and awards.

And he never tired of sharing the story of Iwo Jima with family and friends. Recounting vivid memories up until his passing.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Mary, who passed in September of 2018. His father, John Lester Cook, his mother, Ruth Deloise Burke; brothers, Danny, Ernest, Jerry; and sisters, Georgia and Norma.

He is survived by brother, Ken Cook; sisters, Ruthie Simons, Jewell Wooldridge, Kay Vancleave, and Kathy Cook. Daughters Debra Kobold and Marie Wynn, sons Dale Jr. and Jim. Seven grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous others whom he welcomed into his family.

His vibrant presence will be missed by many.

A special thank you to Steve Rubenstein, of the San Francisco Chronicle, for this remarkable depiction of Dale J. Cook’s legacy.


  • Vigil Monday, March 11, 2019
  • Rosary Monday, March 11, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dale John Cook

have a memory or condolence to add?

Randy Buckner

March 12, 2019

Respect, Honor, and Gratitude on behalf of a grateful Nation

Tom Graves

March 10, 2019

Dale was a great friend and role model. He will be missed by all who knew him. SF Dale

Patrick Brent

March 7, 2019

At this very moment our MCCCA pal is swapping sea stories with another awe inspiring Leatherneck writer named Jack Paxton with Chesty and John Archer smiling and enjoying the snappy dialogue

When this rookie was first attempting to become a jarhead correspondent ....It was men like Dale Cook who me under their wing.

Now it is time to share a moment, which was shared at Camp Lejeune / luh jern during a eulogy for WW II US Marine named S/Sgt George Barrows also …like Dale Cook one darn good guy…

After hearing of Dale's passing ... my memory kept reflecting on this moment long long ago. …..

Like to share this special story, as it is on target today.

At age ten ......experienced the first death in my family... my grandfather died, ... we were very close ... it was devastating .... Still remember the funeral parlor ...... how cold my so grandfather's hands were. That night, after the cemetery, my grandmother took me to a window in her small Chicago apartment and said.

Patrick, look up at the stars ..... Those stars are really holes in the sky, where people that we have lost are looking out for us ..... …… and watching over us.
One of those stars ..... One of the brighter ones is your grandfather and he's looking out for you and me.
Patrick remember that .... …never... disappoint him

Dale, our buddy is up there in the California sky…..Dale is the brightest star. •••• This gyrene is still looking out for you, me and all of us …even navy guys

Remember ..... let us ... Never let him down …. NEVER

Fair winds Dale John Cook and Semper Fidelis Leatherneck !

P. T. B. O U T