A long-time minister and Macon County educator, Mr. Jimmy Cook, passed away on Sunday, November 14, at his home in Red Boiling Springs. He was 89.
Born and raised in Red Boiling Springs, Jimmy was the son of the late Willie and Lossie (Deckard) Cook. He graduated from Red Boiling Springs High School, David Lipscomb University, and he went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Education at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.
Jimmy Cook taught school and served as a trusted and beloved Guidance Counselor in Macon County schools for almost 40 years. He also served 12 years on the Macon County Board of Education. Mr. Cook said in an interview with the Macon County Chronicle several years ago that “education has certainly been a rewarding experience, as I have watched countless boys and girls graduating from Red Boiling Springs High School and accomplishing more than I could ever have dreamed possible, including becoming doctors, nurses, teachers, and lawyers. One of my greatest thrills was witnessing Belinda Cook Bart and Shelia Brockette Dunaway receiving their medical degrees and becoming practicing physicians.”
The former Superintendent of Schools, the late Doyle Gaines, once said that Jimmy Cook was a dedicated educator whose work in the schools and the Macon County Board of Education was phenomenal. He said Jimmy was convinced that consolidating the Lafayette and Red Boiling Springs schools would be a terrible mistake. “Jimmy was one of a kind, and Macon County owes him a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless dedication to our school system.”
Jimmy Cook was a servant of God, and during his 60 years in the ministry, he was the minister of the Red Boiling Springs Church of Christ, Union Hill Church of Christ, Hermitage Springs Church of Christ, Bennett Hill Church of Christ and the Germany Church of Christ. Mr. Cook conducted thousands of marriage ceremonies and funerals, and he traveled extensively visiting the sick and shut-in.
At one time, Jimmy Cook had a church sponsored radio program that was broadcast on four stations, wrote an award winning column “Rural Viewponts” that was published in three newspapers, including the Macon County Chronicle, and he was a published author with his Sermon Outlines. He was affiliated with the March of Dimes, was a member of the Red Boiling Springs City Council, and he served as a Macon County Chairman for Senator Lamar Alexander.
Mr. Cook conducted gospel meetings across the country and one of his proudest moments was when he served as Grand Marshal of the Red Boiling Springs Christmas Parade.
Jimmy Cook met the former Janie Cassetty (who survives), after her family moved to Red Boiling Springs from Jackson County, her junior year in high school. After two years of dating, they married in 1954 and later raised three children, John, Joseph, and Jennifer.
The following was written by Tony Boles, Director of Schools in Macon County:
“With his devotion as a teacher and a preacher, Mr. Jimmy Cook touched the lives of young students and adults alike.
Mr. Cook began his teaching career with Macon County Schools, at Red Boiling Springs, in 1962 as an elementary teacher. At the start of the 1963 school year he began teaching history at Red Boiling Springs High School where he stayed until he left in the spring of 1970 to pursue other career choices.
In 1976, Mr. Cook came back to Red Boiling Springs, as a guidance counselor, where he remained in that position until his retirement in June of 1999.
While in the position of guidance counselor, Mr. Cook influenced the careeer decisions of many young minds. He took students on college visits, visits to vocational schools and other post-secondary institutions so that they would be able to choose the career path that best suited their needs.
Mr. Cook also taught social studies, English and speech classes. I was fortunate to be a part of one of his speech classes in 1978-79. He taught us how to debate controversial topics, speak in front of an audience and we even wrote and performed a three-act play. I also had the pleasure of being a faculty member at Red Boiling Springs High School with Mr. Cook.
Throughout his career as an educator at Red Boiling Springs School, Mr. Jimmy Cook taught students life lessons as well as educational lessons and his students have all benefitted from their association with him.
When Mr. Cook left education in 1999, he did not stay away too long. In August of 2006, he ran and was elected to the Macon County School Board where he represented the Red Boiling Springs School area. Mr. Cook served the school district, as a board member, faithfully for 12 years where he did not just fight for Red Boiling Springs School but he fought for what was best for all Macon County schools. I also had the privilege of serving as Macon County Schools Director with Mr. Cook on the school board and witnessed firsthand his desire to make Macon County Schools the best they could be.
Mr. Cook’s passion was education. He attended Red Boiling Springs School as a student for 12 years, taught at Red Boiling Springs School for 30 plus years and served the Macon County School system as school board member for 12 years.
Men, with a love for education, like Mr. Jimmy Cook, do not come around too often. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral services for Mr. Jimmy Cook will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, November 17, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. from the Red Boiling Springs Church of Christ. Interment will follow in the Smith Chapel Cemetery.