CLEAR LAKE — George W. Cook, age 83, of Clear Lake, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, at the Deuel County Good Samaritan Center. Funeral services were at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Clear Lake United Methodist Church. Burial was in the Lakeview Cemetery. The Houseman Funeral Home of Clear Lake was entrusted with arrangements.
George W. Cook was born on a farm near Clear Lake to George and Alice (Cornell) Cook on Dec. 31, 1930. He attended country school and in 1948 graduated from Clear Lake High School. In 1955, George graduated from S.D. State College with a degree in agriculture.
A young George enjoyed participating in 4-H. He remained involved with 4-H throughout his adulthood.
George was united in marriage to Merlene Vizecky on July 9, 1955, in White. They made their first home in Watertown where he began working as an assistant county agent until receiving orders from the army. They then returned to Clear Lake, where he taught vocational agriculture.
While attending college, George had gained experience as a plumber, doing trenching work and as a digger operator and began a business. He belonged to the National Guard and was called to return to the army where he served as a transportation officer in VA. They returned home to Clear Lake in 1959 and built their first home and first store.
In 1961, the Clear Lake Transportation Company was called to CO. They returned to Clear Lake where they raised their three children, David, Lori and Brian.
In 1972, they sold their furniture store and purchased a lumber yard in Gary. They also purchased a valley area for development. He later sold the Gary lumber business, opening a lumberyard in Clear Lake.
George was instrumental in assisting with the longevity of the community and bringing business and industry to the area, working diligently to keep the hospital open in Clear Lake, serving on the board of directors for over 18 years. He served as mayor of Clear Lake and in various capacities for the United Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge, Lion’s Club and Community Club.
Serving on the Governor’s Board for State Economic Finance Development, S.D. Labor Department’s Workforce Council and S.D. Committee for Doctor Procurement, as well as president and various other offices over a 35-year span for the CL Development Board and for the S.D. State Plumbing Commission was challenging and rewarding.
George was grateful to have had the opportunity to be raised and live in South Dakota as he appreciated the people and beauty of this area. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, sitting around the campfire, enjoying good meals and laughter and traveling, with a special love of the Black Hills. He has shown his family a life well-lived by being a good husband, father, grandfather and giving of himself for the community.
Grateful for having shared his life are his children, David (Julie) Cook, Lori (Jon) Puetz of Clear Lake and Brian (Kristie) Cook of Dell Rapids; eight grandchildren, Thomas, Nicholas and Sarah Cook, Andrew and Eric Puetz, Sydney, Jason and Brandon Cook; siblings, Marian (Robert) Bonestell of Duluth, Minn., Alvin (Janette) Cook, Stanley (Joyce) Cook, Russell Cook, Margery (Gary) Stava, all of Clear Lake; and one sister-in-law, Janell Leebens of Sioux Falls.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Merlene, his parents, father-in-law and mother-in-law, and one grandson, Matthew Cook.