Joe Cook passed away in his sleep in his apartment in Excelsior Springs on Thursday, December 3, 2020, after a long battle with diabetes. Joe was born on February 19, 1943 in Winchester, Virginia, the oldest son of Barton B. Cook and Daisy (Walters) Cook.
Raised in a military family, Joe traveled extensively in his childhood. While his father was stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Joe graduated from Mascoutah High School. He then attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he worked on the student newspaper, “The Daily Egyptian,” was treasurer of his dormitory, Warren Hall, and became an avid lifelong fan of the SIU Salukis. Joe graduated from SIU with a B.S. degree in journalism in 1965. Following graduation, Joe was a sports reporter for the”Decatur Hearld” in Decatur, Ill., where he was employed for over 20 years. At the “Hearld,”Joe wrote a popular column, “Cook’s Prep Menu,” and was featured in a book about the Macon High School baseball team, “One Shot at Forever.” Upon leaving the Herald, Joe worked for a brief time at the “News Star” in Monroe, La. He then moved to Liberty, Mo., to be with his parents. Joe took graduate school classes in communications at Central Missouri State University where he was editor of the “Muleskinner”campus newspaper. He finished his newspaper career as sports editor of the Liberty “Sun News.”
In retirement Joe was a concession stand manager for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. He was interred along with his beloved dogs, Bailey and Cookie, at Crown Hill Cemetery in Excelsior Springs, Mo. Joe deeply appreciated the care he received from his hospice workers and the support of his friends Mike Yates of Joplin, Mo. (his college roommate), fellow journalist Mike Konrad of Tampa Bay, Fl. (who recently died of the coronavirus), Shelly Frazier (nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Liberty) and Dean Strehle of Liberty.
His parents and younger brother, James Cook, pre-deceased him.
Joe is survived by two nieces and several aunts and uncles.
Our Sincere Condolences
I loved working with Joe at the news office on the square in Liberty. Joe loved covering sports, especially the high school teams. He was a unique character with a dry sense of humor that I could relate to. My condolences to his family.
I coached the basketball team at Liberty High School from 1985 – 1994. Joe covered many of my games and wrote various articles regarding our team. I mainly knew him on a professional level but he also became my friend. He was a great man and an exceptional writer. I’ll always have great memories of him and he will be missed.
Coach Wayne Van Dine