Robert Burdette Cook, 86, of Faribault passed away at Methodist Hospital in Roch-ester Tuesday September 11, 2012.
Bob was born in Mountain Lake. He lived in Windom and Redwood Falls where he graduated in 1944. He spent 30 months in the army repairing radios in Japan. He said this left him with an enlisted man’s view of life.
He began college at Carleton College and transferred to the University of Minnesota where he earned his civil engineering degree and had a lucky encounter with the love of his life, Betty who he married in 1947. His first job was for Dakota County in Hastings. Then the family moved to California where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service, East Bay Municipal Utility District and Timber Structures.
He returned with his family to work for the Minnesota Highway Department. He had a bridge contracting business.
In 1962 the family of seven moved to Eielson AFB in Alaska. They were in the earthquake in 1964 that devastated parts of Anchorage and Valdez. Bob’s next job with the Air Force was at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Bellevue, Neb. The family moved to London, England and Wiesbaden, Germany. He showed his children the world from the back seat of a station wagon. In 1970 Bob became the city engineer in Robbinsdale. Bob came to Faribault in 1972 to become the city’s first director of public works and city engineer. He was later appointed city administrator. He left Faribault in 1979 to work for RCM Engineering Consultants.
In 1979 he took a job with USAID and headed to Damascus, Syria and then on to Cairo, Egypt. He ended his career in Washington, D.C. at USAID headquarters where his worked for the Near East Bureau and was chief engineer for the Latin America Bureau. Bob and Betty retired to Faribault but continued their travels, visiting family in Australia, India, Switzerland and parts of the U.S.
Bob’s hobbies included woodcarving, carpentry, travel, and he was an avid history buff. He researched many topics and gave frequent talks to Golden Kiwanis, Travelers Club and his church. Bob was well informed, well-traveled and well respected by his many friends and colleagues.
Bob is survived by his five children: Roger (Joan) Cook of Westerly, R.I., Bill (Tish) Cook of Green-wood, Terry Cook of Apple Valley, Martha (Michael) Keaveny of Westminster, Colo. and Sarah (Orson) Burton of Rosemount; 11 grandchildren, Adam and Caleb Cook, Betsy (Chris) McHugh; Chad Cook and Emily (Matt) Nutsch; Nathan, Jeremy, Patrick and Ryan Keaveny; Bryan (Alison) and Trevor Gertonson and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty and brother William (Bill) Cook.
Memorial service will be at First English Lutheran Church in Faribault at 3 p.m Monday, September 17, 2012. There will be a gathering of family and friends between 1-3. Memorials will be given to Bob’s favorite charities.