Herbert O. Cook

September 22, 1925 - August 14, 2018

Herb passed away August 14, 2018 at his home on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach.  The last seven years without his wife Kathy were at times unbearable for him.  The joy of their reunion is immeasurable.  

Herbie was born on September 22, 1925 in Medford, OR and lived his early years on his grandfather's cattle ranch in Nebraska.  He often shared the story of riding horseback five miles each way to school, his father installing a rope ladder off his horse's saddle to allow easy dismount for a five year-old boy.  In 1932 he and his family moved to Long Beach to join his aunts and grandmother.  This was during the Great Depression and young Herbie sold newspapers on a downtown corner and subsequently earned his own route.  

He attended Long Beach Poly High School where he played football and ran track.  In his off hours, he worked for a florist making corsages and funeral flowers, which instilled a lifelong love of arranging blooms.  Evidence of this is found in his many albums, which more frequently boast photos of stunning blossoms than of his own family members. While we are on the subject, our most sincere apologies to the neighbors on the peninsula, as in his final years, dear Herbie had taken to rolling through the neighborhood with scissors, clipping flowers that pleased him most from all of your yards.

In 1943, Herb graduated from High School and enlisted in the US Navy where he proudly served his country during WWII.  He was sent to the South Pacific where he battled at Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, Philippine Sea and Iwo Jima.  He was honorably discharged in April of 1946 as a Petty Officer 1st Class. 

Herb received a football scholarship the University of New Mexico, where,  on Thanksgiving Day in 1946, Herb and his buddy were entering the movie theater when they ran into two young ladies exiting.  One was a friend of Herbie's companion and the two decided to (famously) forfeit their .25 cent tickets to have a beer with the women instead.  Long story short, Herb and Kathy were married on August 12, 1947 in Fort Stockton, Texas and shared 64 beautiful years together.  

In 1962 Herbie and Kathy bought their home on the peninsula while Herb opened an agency for American National Life Insurance in Newport Beach.   He developed over 30 brokers and became the top agency in the company.  

Herb and Kathy read Bible devotionals daily and desired a close relationship with God.  After Kathy's passing, Herb continued to seek the Lord through prayer and study.

Herb and Kathy had a beautiful life in Balboa with their two daughters.  He and his wife enjoyed memberships at the local Peninsula Point Tennis Club, the John Wayne Tennis Club and other organizations that provided them with many reasons to enjoy good food and wine with those around them.  Herb was well-known amongst friends for his fabulous dishes prepared from a carefully purveyed recipe collection over his lifetime.  Herb valued his friendships tremendously, remained in touch with classmates and confidantes from all chapters of his life including from his young childhood, and often reminded us in a patriarchal way to treasure those special, chosen relationships.  As an outgoing, outspoken man, he was also able to readily make new friendships with everyday acquaintances.

Herbie leaves behind his daughters Lynn West (Richard Diamond) and Joanne West-Neal; grandchildren Josh (Tina) West and Shayneh (Jason) Starks; and grandchildren Ella, Isaiah, Sophie and Lucy.