Sunday, April 11, 1999

Devoted pair died together


Two others killed while going to work

BY MARK CURNUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Two years ago, when a 100-year flood devastated the Tristate, Jacque Cook was a tireless volunteer bringing comfort to victims along the Ohio and Licking rivers.

        Friday morning, when another natural disaster struck, Mrs. Cook was a victim. She and her husband, Lee Cook, were killed when the tornado destroyed their home on Cornell Road in Montgomery.

        “It's ironic,” said her brother, Mark Masty, of Dallas. “She would have been the first one to go in amongst all this trying to help other people.”

        Mrs. Cook, 52, and Mr. Cook, 53, were two of the four people killed when the storm swept through southwest Ohio early Friday.

        Also dead are Charles S. Smith, 40, of the 6400 block of Smith Road, Loveland; and Donald E. Lewis, 38, of the 6400 block of Hunt Road, Blanchester.

        The bodies of the Cooks were recovered from a field across the road from their home.

A loving couple
        As their two children and other relatives and friends went through the ruins Saturday, Mr. and Mrs. Cook were remembered for their kindness and generosity.

        “They really loved people,” said their son, Ryan Cook, 18, a University of Dayton freshman. “My mother was a very warm, gentle, compassionate person.”

        Mrs. Cook was born in Norway, Mich., and graduated from Norway High School in 1966. She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Northern Michigan University in 1970. At the time of her death, she was employed as a social worker with several agencies.

        Mr. Cook was born in Detroit and graduated from Garden City (Mich.) High School in 1964. He earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1968 and went on to earn advanced degrees from the University of Dayton and Dartmouth College in metallurgy and chemical engineering. He was also a staff sergeant in the Air Force and served at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton from 1969-71.

        He had recently started a company out of his home, Lee Cook Intake Screen Inc., and was considered an international expert in the development of screens to deal with the aquatic pest, zebra mussels.

        “My dad was really smart and very passionate about the things he loved,” Ryan Cook said.

        The Cooks are also survived by a daughter, Shannyn Cook, 28, of Ferndale, Mich. She is a news and weather reporter with radio station WWJ in Detroit.

        Mr. and Mrs. Cook were members of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Symmes Township. Family members said they are trying to arrange for their funeral Mass there on Tuesday.

Charles Smith
        Mr. Smith was the manager of the Bob Evans Restaurant at 5875 Pfeiffer Road in Blue Ash and a 20-year Bob Evans employee who also worked at restaurants in Springdale and Cherry Grove.

        He was driving south on Interstate 71, about a half mile north of Pfeiffer Road, early Friday when his car was lifted off the pavement. He was going to work to open the restaurant, family members said.

        “He was always striving to do better,” said his sister-in-law, Linda Bell. “He spent a lot of time with his family when he wasn't working.”

        Mr. Smith, a 1977 graduate of Western Brown High School, was born in Hamersville. He also earned a degree in special education from Brown County's Chatfield College in 1994.

        He is survived by his wife, Crystal Smith, 33, and their son, Cameron, 5. Mr. Smith was a member of First Baptist Church of Milford, and funeral arrangements are pending.

Donald Lewis
        Mr. Lewis also was killed while driving during the tornado. He was westbound on I-275 near the Montgomery Road interchange and headed to work as a truck driver for Astro Container Co. in Evendale.

        He was born in Jellico, Tenn., and brought up in the Tristate area. He attended Clermont Northeastern High School.

        He worked as a horse trainer and a dump truck driver before going to work for Astro two years ago.

        “My son and I never went without anything,” said his wife, Virginia Lewis, 38. Mr. Lewis is also survived by a son, Josh Lewis, 13.

        “He and Josh always played basketball in the driveway,” Mrs. Lewis said. “They loved the outdoors.”

        He was a member of Victory Baptist Church in Batavia, where he had just been saved, his wife said.

        Visitation for Mr. Lewis will be Monday from 10 a.m. to noon at Evans Funeral Home in Goshen. The funeral service will be at noon at the funeral home.

'When God calls, we must go'



CINCINNATI.COM'S SPECIAL SECTION
• LATEST HEADLINES
• TOP STORIES
• PHOTO GALLERY
• WHAT YOU CAN DO
• READER DISCUSSION
• STORM BACKGROUND

PICKING UP THE PIECES
Pinpointing the damage in the Tristate
Homeowners sort out emotions, scattered memories
Where to donate, where to get help
Orphaned dog has broken pelvis, heart
- Devoted pair died together
Sirens not designed to penetrate buildings
Did you hear the sirens?
New home, owners spared
Utility crews, municipal workers out in force
Volunteers offer goods, hands, time
Mother Nature's worst brings out the best in human nature
Church members shed tears, give thanks
Hoosiers pitch in to help neighbors
Insurance adjusters bring checks, reassuring words
Warren County took blow, too
One year later, Alabama tornado victims still rebuilding
Coping with the storm
Coping with the storm: Returning to your home