The former City Council president and Clerk of Courts died Sept. 27 at 93.
Former Jacksonville City Council President and Duval County Clerk of Courts Henry Winfred Cook, 93, died Sept. 17 at Mayo Clinic Florida after a brief illness.
His memorial service was Oct. 4 at North Jacksonville Baptist Church, followed by burial in Evergreen Cemetery.
Born Feb. 22, 1929, in Moultrie, Georgia, Cook moved to Jacksonville in 1948 and married Dorothy Eaddy, whom he met on a blind date and was his wife for 71 years.
“It’s just hard to believe. He was my strength. He was an intellectual, talented, gifted person and a good-hearted man,” she said Sept. 30.
Cook had a 20-year civil service career with the city of Jacksonville, retiring in 1968 as an assistant engineer.
After retirement Cook began a long career in elected office as a member of the Civil Service Board and later as a City Council member elected to a countywide at-large seat.
During his tenure on Council, Cook was elected by his peers to be Council president in 1982-83 and again in 1986-87.
Cook also was president of the Florida League of Cities in 1985 and president of the National League of Cities board of directors in 1986-87.
He was appointed Duval County Clerk of the Court in 1988 by then-Gov. Bob Martinez and was subsequently re-elected to serve as clerk until 2000.
Cook was a president and life member of the Jacksonville Jaycees and the first president of the Civitan Club. Cook also was an active member of the Rotary Club and the Morocco Temple Shrine.
Duval County Judge Gary Flower met Cook in the early 1980s and often saw him at the “Lackawanna River Club,” a group that met weekly for breakfast and to discuss local business and governance.
“Henry was witty and had an encyclopedic knowledge of Jacksonville politics,” Flower said.
Flower also remembers Cook as a mentor.
“When I use the word mentor I’m not speaking of that synthetic watered-down idea of someone who calls once in a while to just check in and see how you’re doing and maybe answer a random question. I called Henry a lot and he was always painfully honest with me,” Flower said.
Attorney Eric Smith, a former state representative and City Council president, said Cook was a regular attendee at the monthly lunch meetings of the “Former Council Presidents and Friends” group that was established in 2009.
“Henry was always one of the first people there. He ran in the circles of old Jacksonville. He was a statesman and a workhorse, not a show horse,” Smith said.
When not in public service or helping lead civic organizations, Cook was a freelance artist and owner of Henry Cook & Associates Commercial Art and Screen Process Company.
Cook painted landscapes, inspired by walks on the beach at his and Dorothy’s home on Amelia Island. Some were exhibited and many were given as gifts.
“He gave so many to his friends. He wanted to share what he had,” Dorothy Cook said.
In addition to his wife, Cook is survived by daughter Cheryl Morgan, daughter Kristi Sikes (Buddy), grandson Dusty Sikes (Tara) and great-granddaughter, Sierra Morgan and many nephews and nieces.
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