Surrounded by his family, Paul Carlton Cook responded to God's call to Heaven as he left this world at 4:15 am on August 3, 2014.
Paul was born May 15, 1937 in Huntington Park, CA to parents Edgar Wilkins Cook and Helen (Bacon) Cook Cohen. Paul attended elementary school in Bell, CA, later moving to Lynwood, CA where he attended high school. Paul met his future wife, Annette Harrison, while they were students at Lynwood High. They were married in June 1957. Their daughter, Debbie, was born in September 1958, followed fourteen months later by daughter Brenda, who was born in November 1959. A son, Carl, joined the family in March 1968.
In 1958, Paul applied for a position with the Downey Fire Department. During the oral interview, Paul was asked what achievement he was most proud of. Being young and inexperienced, the only thing he could come up with was that he had achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Unknown to Paul, a member of the interview panel was the Regional Scoutmaster. Paul got the job. By age 27, Paul attained the rank of Fire Captain. Later in his career, he worked as a training officer, fire science instructor and as an arson investigator. One of his most memorable (and highly publicized) experiences was being the first unit on scene in response to the 911 call for the singer Karen Carpenter.
In 1970, Paul became a single father. It was during this time that he re-established his financial resources, purchasing income property, which proved to be a wise investment. Always a hard worker, he spent his days off as a landscape contractor, handyman, etc. Additionally, Paul served on the Downey Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of Toastmasters for 25 years. He was a fantastic ballroom dancer.
Paul's second chance at love came when he married Janet Strine in 1975. She was the perfect match for him. They traveled extensively and were socially active with their many friends. Paul retired from the Fire Department in 1987. Not long after, he accepted the Fire Chief's position at Allied Signal Corporation in Torrance, CA. Paul left that job in 1992. Now completely retired, and with children and grandchildren living in Oregon, Paul and Jan relocated to Medford in 1993. They built their dream home in East Medford, and enjoyed many wonderful years hosting friends and family. The party was always on at their house!
Paul found his greatest joy with his family. Whether it was attending a sports event, a musical performance, or other activities for the children and grandchildren, he was always there. He was the best Husband, Dad, and Grandpa that any family could hope for. He taught us how to swim, how to fix things, and how to be kind to each other. Among his many interests were public speaking, dancing, fly fishing (and fly tying), photography, and computers. He had many stories to share from his interesting life.
Although Paul suffered from chronic health issues later in his life, he maintained an upbeat and positive outlook. His favorite expression, I'm gonna live till I die, captured his ability to live in the moment and to be engaged with whatever was going on around him. He could find joy in life's simple pleasures. The family would like to express their thanks to all the medical providers involved in Paul's care, with particular thanks going to Renal Care Consultants/ Davita Dialysis Center, Rogue Regional Wound Care Clinic, Southern Oregon Orthopedics, and to the work group in 3 West at Rogue Regional Medical Center for making Paul's last days dignified and comfortable.
Paul is survived by his wife, Jan; his children, Debbie Cook Smith (Patrick), Brenda Cook Messmer (Clark), and Carl Cook (Christal); his grandchildren, Michelle Moore, Kimberly Moore, Madison Messmer, Dominic Cook, Kaylin Cook, Chase Cook, and Hannah Cook; and by granddaughters of his heart, Stephanie Smith and Jessica (Smith) Dougherty.
Services are planned for 10:00 a.m. Monday, August 11, 2104 at Perl Funeral Home, 2100 Siskiyou Boulevard, Medford, OR 97504. In lieu of flowers, please honor Paul by making a donation to a charitable organization of your choice. He was all about giving back to the