Sammy Jerald Cook
June 30, 1949 – August 29, 2020
Sammy Jerald Cook, 71, passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2020.
He was born June 30, 1949, to Sammy Ray Cook and Willie Mae Ponder Denton in Magee, MS. Although he was born in Magee, Sam and Willie Mae moved the family to South Jackson in the early fifties where he and his siblings Reba, Dave, and Cathy grew up playing with neighborhood friends in the yard of the family home, fishing at Irving Lake, and attending and graduating from Forest Hill High School.
After graduating High School, he attempted college studying vehicle mechanics, but figured out the “college of hard knocks,” as he called it, was the only college he was cut out for. He soon began working alongside his father, Sam, in the family business, Cook Glass Shop, replacing glass in stores and homes for more than thirty years. He also began following his dream of being a country music star at night and on weekends by playing at fairs, festivals, Knights of Columbus, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and in the local honkytonks.
He developed a love for country music as a teenager and was a gifted, self-taught musician who began playing guitar at 16 years old. His passion for music was strong, and his talents would grow to include piano and bass guitar. He enjoyed Southern gospel and country and was heavily inspired by his favorite artists - The Hinsons, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash, just to name a few.
It was in his early twenties while performing at one of those festivals, he met and eventually married his first wife, Sherry. This caused him to change his plans of country music stardom. Stacy, his only child and the light of his life, followed 13 months later. It is during this time in the early 70’s that he met and began to work with Jackie Thompson, signing a record label, and cutting several records. This was a short-lived dream that ended with adult life, work, and family responsibilities. He did continue to sing and play music with local country and gospel bands including SouthWind in the early eighties.
Jerald was a Christian believer and a dedicated family man. His whole world consisted of his daughter and grandchildren. Whether teaching his daughter to play softball and basketball or attending any event to see his family succeed in life, he always treasured every moment of their time together. Holiday gatherings, birthdays, or random Saturday afternoon family visits were significant to him, as it was another opportunity to create precious memories of eating lots of good food, crazy family laughs, and competitive games of dominoes with his loved ones. He also enjoyed going to bingo, watching football games, westerns, and old movies. Another of his beloved hobbies and talents was buying and working on old cars with his father to re-sale.
Family members shared some memories of Jerald:
Reba, Jerald’s older sister and mother figure even when his mother was around, recalls fond memories of how he enjoyed traveling around to the local nursing homes and performing his favorite country music and gospel tunes for the residences before he became sick. She recollects on many childhood memories with Jerald and Dave playing ball, making prank calls, and getting into trouble through their teen years together. She remembers how much Jerald looked up to his brother Dave, wanting to be like him so much that he tried to join the basketball team like Dave and attempted to join the military when he turned eighteen but was refused because of being blind in his right eye. Reba was always looking after and checking on Jerald from the moment he arrived until he took his last breath. She noted that he would be dearly missed.
Cathy is Jerald’s younger sister and forever kindred spirit. She recalls several beautiful memories of Jerald and his older brother Dave as young kids playing basketball and baseball with friends in the yard at the family home. Cathy also smiled at the thought of Jerald living with her and her husband Ray after their son, Wade, was born. She noted that Jerald was the first person and only person to hear Wade say his first word-Mama. Jerald volunteered to help them build their first house to save on time and money and noted that he had a good heart, always willing to help and give the shirt off his back to anyone in need, even if he needed it more. Cathy smiles and laughs about the funny sayings Jerald always joked around and said like, “Same thing except a whole lot different” and “everything is chicken but the beak.” Jerald was always so proud of his sisters and bragged on how beautiful and smart they were to anyone that would listen.
Dave was Jerald’s best friend and partner in crime most of their young lives. He reminisced about how he and Jerald got into trouble throughout their younger lives and how Dave enjoyed picking on his younger brother to get a rise out of him. Dave also spoke of a funny memory of Jerald getting left by Papaw Cook, their dad, at his house one Christmas. Jerald was telling everyone goodbye and Dave was telling him that Papaw was going to leave him. Jerald said, “No, he would never leave me.” Sure enough, Papaw accidentally left him. Jerald chased the car tail lights up the hill, yelling and screaming for Papaw to stop, but Papaw never heard him. Jerald was holding plates of food in his hands, spiked them on the ground like a football, said a few choice curse words, and walked back inside the house. Jerald was livid, but the rest of the family enjoyed the show, attempting not to laugh in front of Jerald. The family has had many laughs from this story over the past 30 years. Jerald never failed to entertain the family at family gatherings and never minded being the one to make people laugh or being the brunt of the jokes.
As remembered by his sister-in-law Becky, Jerald was a kind soul that kept the family on their toes with his crazy antics, always brought a smile to your face and laughter to your heart, and was one of a kind. Becky noted that Jerald was so loved and will be so missed by the family.
Stacy, Brian, Kelby, and Jacey have so many fond and beautiful memories of Jerald that they are too numerous to count or to choose only one to reminisce. Stacy, recalling vividly, her wedding day, and Jerald walking her down the aisle or seeing him hold his grandchildren in his arms and playing with them like he was a child himself, brings tears of joy and sadness. These countless memories are priceless treasures that they will hold on to and remember Jerald fondly, with a heart full of love and laughter, until they see him again.
He delighted and doted on his daughter, Stacy, and grandchildren Kelby and Jacey. He always enjoyed seeing them and being involved in whatever they were doing at the time and was always there being supportive and cheering them on to succeed at anything they aspired to do. He was especially pleased when his granddaughter, Jacey, took up his love for music and started singing and playing the guitar. He bought her first guitar, banjo, and ukulele, as well as continually bought her music equipment to supplement her music aspirations. He referred to Stacy and the grandkids as his legacy and beamed proudly every time he spoke of them.
Jerald also adored his nieces and nephews, unfortunately, never meeting his great-nieces, but pictures and stories about them were shared with him by Stacy. He loved catching up, sharing stories, spending time, picking, and joking around with his nieces and nephews during family gatherings. Jerald especially enjoyed a close relationship with his nephew Wade over the years, talking on the phone, exchanging crazy jokes and funny stories to see who had the best story content. Indeed, his family was the most important thing to him throughout his life, and he never failed to put them first, tell them, or show them.
He had become sick in recent years and was living in a nursing home in Newton, MS, because of illness. Even as family get-togethers gradually weren’t an option anymore, he faithfully checked in on everyone and asked how they were doing. Jerald was a lover of family, life, and music, and he enjoyed life to the fullest. Jerald’s good heart is remembered fondly, with many vouching for how he was the type to give you his last quarter if you needed it. They lovingly proclaim that while he may not have always come off as the most couth, he more than made up for it with his compassionate nature.
He is survived by his daughter, Stacy Wall and husband Brian; his grandchildren, Jacey Wall and Kelby Wall and fiancé Kaleigh Livingston; siblings, Reba Cook, Dave Cook and wife Becky, and Cathy Perez and husband Ray; five nephews, Adam (Megan), Wade, Drew, Mark (Amanda), and Addison; two nieces Hillary (April) and Shelley (Carmen); two great-nephews, Scott and Jonathan; two great-nieces, Merritt and Nova; and one great-nephew on the way, Liam.
Jerald will be deeply missed by many.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Wounded Warriors of Mississippi, http://www.woundedwarriorsofms.com/.
Private services will be held.
- Stacy Wall (Brian), Daughter
- Jacey Wall, Grandchild
- Kelby Wall (Kaleigh Livingston), Grandchild
- Reba Cook, Sister
- Dave Cook (Becky), Brother
- Cathy Perez (Ray), Sister
- Adam (Megan), Nephew
- Wade, Nephew
- Drew, Nephew
- Mark (Amanda), Nephew
- Addison, Nephew
- Hillary (April), Niece
- Shelley (Carmen), Niece
- Scott, Great-Nephew
- Jonathan, Great-Nephew
- Merritt, Great-Niece
- Nova, Great-Niece
- Liam, Great-Nephew on the way
- and many dear friends
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No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Sammy Jerald Cook
September 2, 2020
While living in Utopia in Jackson, Jerald attended and joined our church Northside Baptist in Clinton. Jerald is remembered here for his love of music. One October, he even played the guitar for our annual Halloween carnival. Prayers and condolences to your family.
-Rev. Courtney Stamey, Senior Pastor