John Thomas Cook

John Thomas Cook, 81 of Salisbury, passed peacefully at home on Saturday, January 29th, surrounded by his loving family. John was born February 10, 1940 in Springfield to Earl Cook and Goldie Brewer. He married the love of his life, Peggy Smith on January 28, 1961. They recently were able to celebrate 61 years of marriage prior to his passing.

John was all around the most amazing person, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He made an impact on all he met and would help a stranger if in need, many times doing just that. He devoted his life to his career and helping others but most importantly, his true love was his family. After retirement, he was able to spend every moment with his family. Several times per week, many nights were spent getting ice cream and going to dinner. He would embarrass his family by yelling out at passersby and pedestrians, he was a jokester and a prankster and loved to make people laugh. Many holidays were spent with lots of food, lots of laughs, and more fun than you could imagine, this included many friends that became family over the years. He was a die-hard NASCAR fan, always rooting Dale Earnhardt on. He enjoyed cooking on his state-of-the-art smoker and went on many fun trips across the US, always having family by his side when he traveled.  John was the ultimate protector, fixer and provider. He knew all the answers, being the rock of his family. He never knew a stranger. He helped many families financially over the years when they couldn’t afford Christmas for their children. He always went above and beyond to provide for those in need, providing meals and groceries for families as well. The list could go on and on with everything he did for others.

At 17 years of age, he joined the United States Army 1st Airborne. At the age of 21, he returned home where he met and married his beloved wife, Peggy. John joined the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) in 1968. He then became a life-long member of Laborers Local Union #477. He was elected Business Manager of Local #477 in 1983 and held the position until retirement, in the Spring of 2002. He held many positions over the years, of which included:  Central Illinois Laborers Welfare Trustee, Central IL Laborers Pension Trustee, Secretary of Chairman of the Welfare Fund/The Funds International Committee, Executive Board Member of the Southern & Central IL Laborers District Council, President of the Springfield and Central IL Trades and Labor Council, and President of the Central IL Building and Construction Trade Council.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Earl Cook and Goldie Brewer; sisters, Mary Clemons and Delores Cook Anthony; brother, Fred Cook; and grandson, Joshua Thomas Knoles.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy Jo Cook; children, Johnny Cook, Audrey Swartz, Rosalie Woodard, Sherry (Leroy) Richards, and Dorothy Noble. He also raised two grandchildren as his own, Starr Knoles and Joshua T. Knoles (deceased). He has many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He is survived by two brothers Steve (Pat) Cook and Danny (Paula) Cook.

Visitation: 2 – 5 pm, Sunday, February 6, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield, 1109 South Fifth St., Springfield, IL.

Funeral Service: 11 am, Monday, February 7, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield, with Pastor Nathaniel Kern and Deacon Jeff Knoles officiating. Burial will follow at Salisbury Cemetery, where military honors will be conducted.

Memorial contributions may be made to Helping Hands of Springfield or Central Illinois Food Bank.

CDC protocol shall be followed.

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