Gene Carroll Cook, age 85, died peacefully at home in Florence, Alabama, on September 25, 2022. He was born in Savannah, TN, but spent his formative years growing up in Florence, AL. A graduate of Coffee High School (1955), he attended Florence State, University of Alabama, and obtained his engineering degree from the University of Omaha in Nebraska. Gene proudly served his country as a Captain in the United States Air Force, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a navigator and electronic warfare officer on B-52s and, later, an intelligence officer. After leaving the Air Force, Gene worked as an engineer for Chrysler, Martin Marietta, OSHA, and TVA. He retired in 1995 and opened his own safety consulting business.
Gene was an active, long-time member at Highland Baptist Church, where he was baptized, served as a deacon, and taught the oldest generation of saints for many years. On Sunday mornings, he rose early to review his lesson notes that he would deliver to his “old men.” He was a Bible scholar and left behind a legacy of faith that equipped his sons to lead their own families.
Gene is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothy “Dottie” Ellis; three sons Greg (Kimberly), Steve (Jennifer), and David (Toree); nine grandchildren Geoffrey (Mary), Mary Catherine, Will, Christopher, Gene, Hudson, Lauren, Jameson, and Allyson; one brother John (Jean), two nephews Bryan (Trena), George (Alison), and one niece Mary Anne Spears (Gus).
Gene was preceded in death by his parents George Cecil and Mary Luella Linam, originally from Savannah, TN, but living most of their adult lives in Florence, Alabama.
Gene was an avid reader throughout life and a self-taught artist. He always had a pad of paper and pen by his chair, along with folders of magazine clippings to inspire works of art he wanted to complete “someday.” He scribbled on napkins and newspapers, and particularly loved painting beach scenes and drawing airplanes. All his family have “Gene Cook” masterpieces they will cherish for generations.
Gene was a man of humility and honor. He raised three sons to respect the LORD, and modeled how to be a faithful husband and father. Even up till the last day of his life, he never failed to say to his bride, Dottie, whenever she entered a room: “You are so beautiful.” As an artist, he saw beauty in the things that mattered most; as a faithful Christ-follower, he loved his wife and family sacrificially. In his later years of infirmity, he continually thanked Dottie for her sacrificial, patient, and loving care for his every need. In their marriage, they modeled the love that Christ showed the church, and this legacy extends to their children and grandchildren.
The family will receive visitors September 28, 11-noon, at Greenview Funeral Home, Florence, AL, with service following in the chapel, and interment, with full military honors, at the graveside.
The family would like to thank compassionate caregivers from Compassus Hospice, Eldercare, and Visiting Angels for their care of Gene over the course of his illness. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Highland Baptist Church in Gene’s memory.