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Neil Ronné Cook lay down his earthly toils on October 2, 2018. He was born into the midst of the great depression in Denver, Colorado on November 25, 1932. His character was shaped by the trials and deprivations of that era. As a young boy he tended rabbits to feed his family and to support the war effort, cutting grass by hand from fields and roadsides to sustain his flock. As a teenager, he worked on his family’s dairy farm in Colorado’s mountains fostering a lifelong love of ranching and exploring the outdoors. He graduated as valedictorian of his Monument, Colorado high school class of 1949 and soon thereafter, in the midst of the Korean conflict, he joined the United States Marine Corps, quickly rising to the rank of sergeant.
Following his discharge, he returned to his beloved Colorado to complete a degree in animal science at Colorado State University. While there, as fate (and a borrowed pencil) would have, it, he met a lovely young coed named Glenna Hopkins and a few months later they were married. He later earned master’s and PhD degrees in agricultural economics. After graduation, Neil and Glenna moved to Little Rock with their young family, where Neil worked for 26 years as an agricultural economist in the US Department of Agriculture, performing watershed planning. In 1972, the Secretary of Agriculture presented him with a commendation for superior service.
He enjoyed canoeing, camping, hiking, mountain climbing, ranching, blacksmithing, and restoring old tractors with his family and friends. Neil and Glenna were married for 59 years and raised four sons. They also hosted more than a dozen foreign exchange students, and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Russia. Neil is survived by his wife, Glenna; his sons and spouses Paul and Robin Cook, Evan and Susan Cook, Ross and Pam Cook, and Ward and Robynne Cook; fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Vilonia Arkansas on Sunday, October 7 at 1:00 p.m.