DENVER, Colo. -- W. Thomas Cook, 69, died Wednesday (Sept. 4, 2002) at Aurora Regional Medical Center.
W. Thomas Cook was born Oct. 5, 1932, in McCook, the son of William Lafayette and Carrie M. Cook, and the brother to Morris L. He received his education in the McCook schools, graduating in 1950. He graduated from McCook Junior College in 1952, then received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado) in 1956. In 1958, he received his Masters Degree from Colorado College of Education. On March 15, 1953, he married Ruth Naomi League in McCook. Tom and Ruth were blessed with four children: Michelle, Mark, Matthew, and Michael. Three daughters-in-law also have joined the family: Joy, Laurie and Natalie. They also have seven grandchildren: Tommy, Keith, Carrie, Erin, Nicholas, Braden and Neil. Over the past 50 years Tom was active in Broadcasting/Telecommunications. Tom began his career in radio at KBRL-AM-1450, in McCook in 1948. Tom was a member of the Council for Public Broadcasting at KRMA-TV in Denver, Colo. starting in 1965. He served on the Board of Directors for Rocky Mountain PBS for 32 years. Tom was also the host of Denver Showcase on KOA-TV(now KCNC) from 1979 to 1991. During this time Tom interviewed leading figures in the politics, arts, sciences and sports. With the opening of Metropolitan State College in 1965, Professor Cook became a charter member of the faculty, and he established the first broadcasting curriculum in the state. This lead to the first Broadcasting/Telecommunications major programs leading to a baccalaureate degree in 1976. It was during this time that Tom, working with his good friend Carl Akers, started the first internship at KBTV-TV and radio in 1968.
Today, Metro students are participating in 140 telecommunications internships throughout the region and the United States. Thousands of students have taken part in the internship program since 1968, many of whom are current leaders in the broadcasting industry. Tom received several honors during his career including: the Distinguished Faculty award from Metro State College in 1983, the Distinguished Service award in 1988, for establishing the broadcasting internship program. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded him the Silver Circle award in 1999, the first educator to be so honored. And in March of 2002 The Colorado Broadcast Pioneers inducted him to their Hall of Fame. Tom loved football, especially Nebraska football. He was never shy about his allegiance to the Big Red. However he loved the state of Colorado and the Denver Broncos almost as much. He was on hand to watch the Broncos win their first Super Bowl and it was something he enjoyed talking about. Tom also loved the mountains of Colorado, and spending quiet evenings watching the sunset over the Rocky Mountains. Tom was a husband, father, brother, friend, teacher, and mentor. He will be missed. The good works of his life and his memory will carry on in the hearts of all who knew him.
Funeral services were Monday (Sept. 9, 2002) at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colo. Burial was in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colo.
Memorials may be given in his name to the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, Heartland Chapter, 1255 West Virginia Ave., Denver, CO 80223.