George Cooke Landon

April 18, 1933January 7, 2021

George Cooke Landon, PhD (Born April 18, 1933. Died January 7, 2021)

Professor of American Thought and Language at MSU from 1964 -1998, died peacefully in East Lansing. He was 87 years old.

George was a much admired teacher. His flamboyance and style, not to mention his flashy rings and colorful glasses, were recognizable wherever he went. He was an out and proud gay man long before it was fashionable, and he earned the respect of many for his rigorous honesty. He loved opera, good books, world travel, and was a master chef, known for entertaining his friends with exquisitely prepared meals served on the finest china. And heaven forbid you would serve him a meal on an unwarmed plate. Unforgivable, in George’s world!

George was a devoted member of the Back Porch Group of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 40 years, sharing his wisdom and irreverent humor with many a recovering friend.

George was born in Eden, NY, the youngest of four brothers, all of whom have predeceased him. He adored his mother, Ida Cooke Landon, who died when he was 15. He loved to tell stories of his very proper Edwardian upbringing in rural America. He is survived by many nieces and nephews, including Patricia Landon Falk, and his dear Cousin Barbara Myers, and many loving friends.

Goodbye, George. We will miss you.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


George Cooke Landon

have a memory or condolence to add?

Karen Myers-Hackem

January 12, 2021

Cousin George holds a special place in the hearts of his family and friends. As a child, I viewed him as "larger than life," not only because of his physical stature, but also because of his flamboyant and unconventional way of speaking and relating to others.

He impressed upon his nieces, nephews and cousins the importance of good manners and fine culinary practices in all social settings. At one cousin's wedding about a dozen years ago, the Cooke-descended cousins seated together at the table all touched their dinner plates simultaneous when served to check if the plates were hot. We laughed and acknowledged George's impact on us.

George's stories about grandfather AGO Cooke fascinated because of the forbidden language (e.g. a pregnant woman) and topics of discussion in their household that today are part of everyday conversations. He was a voracious reader and a delightful letter writer, particularly with wry stories about his adventures in Japan where he met many life-long friends.

George made an effort to stay connected with family in Michigan, Western New York, and Massachusetts. We reciprocated with yearly visits and frequent calls. My last visit was June of 2018 when this photo was taken in his Lansing apartment. His memory decline had begun and it was sad to realize that the George we knew and loved would not be with us for much longer. And so it was. Rest in peace dear George.

Ryan Muskett

January 10, 2021

I always wondered what it would have been like to take one of Uncle George's courses at MSU, or attend one of his fancy dinner parties my mom and Aunt Tricia would sometimes talk about. I love the anecdote about not wanting to make gussets for the rest of his life - I had to look up who Bill Blass was as he is before my time, but I saw a quote from him saying "When in doubt, wear red" so I'm wearing my red polo today in Uncle George's honor. Rest in Peace Uncle George.

Adoree Gelley

January 10, 2021

I did not know George but he sounds like someone I would have thoroughly enjoyed. My condolences to the Landon family, sorry for your loss Patty.

Dennis Crowe

January 10, 2021

Hey Tricia-
Mom used to talk about him fondly. I remember she talked about his unique sense of style and that she remembers him wearing a cape way back in the day. He looked so much like Gordon in those recent pictures! Sorry for your loss.

Jean Golden

January 9, 2021

Tricia, George always told us that he left Parsons because he just couldn’t envision an entire life making gussets! We laughed every time ...

Tricia Falk

January 9, 2021

George told me that he wanted to be a fashion designer. So after high school, he attended Parsons School in NYC. Each new student was paired up with a graduate designer as a mentor. His mentor helped him through his first year but eventually told him at the end of the year, that he was quite average. George was devastated and dropped out returning to Eden to lick his wounds. I asked him who his mentor was-it was Bill Blass!
After returning to Eden, he promptly settled into being a voracious reader. Both his parents were deceased when he was 15, so his oldest brothers were supervising him. My dad, Gordon, after waiting for George to make a new plan, told him that he had 2 options, Buffalo State, and University of Buffalo. George reluctantly headed to college. Ironically, he exceeded all his brothers getting a PhD. and teaching at Michigan State University and in Japan.