Gary Cook



Gary Leon Cook, 77, Belle, passed away Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, at Phelps Health in Rolla.

He was born Feb. 19, 1945, on the Cook family farm near Belle, a son to the late Bennie and Ruby (Jett) Cook.

He was a lifelong resident of Belle and 1963 graduate of Belle High School.

Gary was united in marriage to Bessie Drewel, Dec. 18, 1965, at High Gate Baptist Church. To this union three children were born: Tina Louise, Gary Leon (Junior), and Bennie Lee. Bessie survives at their home in Belle.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1965–1967, working as a mechanic and receiving the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Rifle Marksman Certificate. After an honorable discharge, Gary moved back home and was employed at Kingsford Charcoal in Belle for over 30 years as a mechanic. During his early years after returning home, Gary assumed ownership of Cook’s Wrecker & Repair, a business started by his father Bennie. Gary and Bessie continued ownership and operated Cook’s Wrecker & Repair for over fifty years.

Gary has farmed his whole life and particularly enjoyed his cows and tolerated Bessie’s chickens, turkeys and guineas. He was well known for his infectious, yet mischievous smirk. He worked hard to get a rise out of people only to smirk, shake his head, and walk away. He was a loving husband, brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

He was preceded in death by parents Bennie and Ruby; and sister Kathleen Cook.

Gary is survived by wife Bessie of Belle; daughter Tina Lansford and husband Roger (Boe) of St. Louis; sons Gary Cook Jr. and wife Sheila of Belle and Bennie Cook and wife Amanda of Houston; grandchildren Matthew Vaughn, Emily Lansford, Nick Lansford, Stephanie Scott, Reaghan Cook, Bennie Cook Jr., Addison Cook, Isabella Cook and William Cook; sisters Jan Kottwitz and husband Gene of Belle and Marsha Land and husband Sam of Jefferson City; brother Buddy Cook and wife Lourea of Belle; and 11 great-grandchildren; as well as many extended family members and friends.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Nov. 26, at High Gate Baptist Church, High Gate, with Pastor Chris Cook officiating. Interment was in the High Gate Cemetery immediately following the services.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the High Gate Cemetery.

Arrangements entrusted to Sassmann’s Chapel, Belle.