On the morning of October 20, 2019, Jerry W. Cook, 76, died peacefully at home from congestive heart failure due to the weak muscles around his heart. Jerry was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, the son of Henry A. Cook and Eula (Walden) Cook. As a military brat, he moved across the United States to places such as Tampa, FL, Portland, ME, New Orleans, LA, Seattle, WA, and Port Arthur, TX, where he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1962. He attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College (Perkinston) and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.
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He met the love of his life, Martha Mae Swanson while attending a St. Martin High School football game, introduced by his future brother-in-law, Wendell W. Graham. They were married in Woolmarket Baptist
Church on December 31, 1966. Over 52 years of marriage, they had 2 sons and traveled the world together during retirement.
Jerry was a proud member of the United States Merchant Marine and began sailing aboard deep sea vessels the week after he graduated from High School. He started out sailing in the basic rates of Ordinary Seaman, Stoker, Oiler and Food Handler. He sailed in the summers so that he could save enough money to attend college in the Fall and Spring Semesters. He shipped out with the Seafarers International Union (SIU) and Sailors' Union of the Pacific (SUP) aboard American Flagged vessel such as the Western Reef (Western Geophysical), SS Point Sur (Waterman Steamship Company) and the SS Maiden Creek (Waterman Steamship Company). He served as a Port Representative for Interstate & Ocean Transport, SONAT Marine and Maritrans LLC and eventually set for and received his USCG Limited Oceans Mate License in 1990. Jerry went back to sea and sailed for companies such as Penn Maritime, Moran Towing, MSRC, Tidewater and Crowley Towing and attained a USCG Limited Oceans Masters License.
He had the opportunity to sail to ports in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Gibraltar, Spain, Azores, Bahamas, Mexico and Canada. ("On someone else's nickel!")
Jerry proudly served his country in the United States Coast Guard.
Mr. Cook is survived by his devoted wife, Martha Cook (nee Swanson); Sons, Henry (Janette) of The Woodlands, TX and William (Amy) of Kiln, MS; A brother, Merwyn (Brenda) of Biloxi, MS; 3 grandchildren, Adriana, Zachary, and Augustus, who lovingly called him "Paw Paw"; Nephew Mark (Stephanie); and great-niece and nephew, Kaylee and Owen of Hernando, MS, as well as his in-laws, Wendall & Jennie Graham and Wallace Swanson.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Eula Cook; sister-in-law, Gerald Swanson; and nephew, Charles Graham.
Mr. Cook was a family man and was proud of the accomplishments of his sons and grandchildren. He loved to travel with his wife and family. Two of his favorite places to visit were Alaska and Holland, where he was able to see the tulips bloom in the spring. He also enjoyed attending rodeos such as the Dixie National and Calgary Stampede. Jerry had a green thumb and treasured·life in rural Jackson County where he could garden and raise chickens. He was a member of the Mississippi Master Gardener Association. Jerry was a selfless man and was known to give his homegrown vegetables and free-range eggs to friends and family. He also frequently volunteered his time as an election official and he served as a Fire Commissioner for Jackson County Fire District for many years. He was a long-time congregant of Woolmarket Baptist Church in Biloxi, where he served as a Deacon and a Master Mason affiliated with McLeod Lodge 424, Ocean Springs. He was a 32 degree Scottish Mason.He was a man of God, who trusted in the Lord to guide him. The Lord has called him home, where he will continue to watch over his friends and family. Mr. Cook was well respected throughout the community and he will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be held at 12:00PM on October 24, 2019 at the Woolmarket Baptist Church,
12816 Lorraine Rd, Biloxi, MS. Graveside Service will be held directly after the church service at the Latimer Assembly of God Cemetery, Old Biloxi Rd, Latimer, MS.
Jerry was an active member of the Gideons International, Ocean Springs Campus. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Gideons would be appreciated. The Gideons International, PO Box 1, Ocean Springs, MS , 39566.