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John "Bill" Cooke Jr. '72 August 6, 2020 2:28 PM updated: August 6, 2020 2:40 PM

John William Cooke, Jr.
JANUARY 29, 1950 – AUGUST 1, 2020

John William Cooke Jr. (Bill) was born in Bryan TX, and was raised in Tyler, TX. He was always energetic, enthusiastic, and committed to whatever he put his heart and hands. His mother, Marjorie, always said as a child that he disproved the theory, that there was no such thing as perpetual motion. Bill was loved and almost worshiped by his parents and grandparents, living the carefree "Leave it to Beaver" life of the 1950's. In his teens, while attending TISD schools and graduating from Robert E. Lee High School, the class of 1968; then, into his early twenty's, he was dedicated to thrill-seeking: motorcycle and car racing, sky diving, straight line downhill skiing, and bull riding. Anything outside the conventional box interested and intrigued him. He was truly "Wild Bill" and that never really changed, only the focus of his passion and energy.

He was an "All In" Aggie, part of the corps, A Battery, the class of '72, with all the push-ups, trash can water fights in the quad, maybe even a little plastic explosives, a blank pistol, along with all the standard drills, marching, plus the largest bonfire ever built at Texas A & M. Bill, who was never a very dedicated student, always said he crammed 4 years of college into 5 years, evidenced by his final semester, in which he would either graduate or flunk out. He did graduate with a degree in Industrial Technology!

Bill's first job was as a plant manager for Nichols Plastics in Jacksonville, TX. Outside of work, Bill's pursuits included a self-sufficiency lifestyle, in a 'shotgun shack' on Mud Creek in Blackjack, TX. He fully embraced the hippie culture. He had long, flowing, fiery red hair, a blazing, bushy beard, and an earring, pursuing rock and roll and mind expanding experiences. He blamed this phase of his life on the fact that he always had to carry a little notebook to write things down so he wouldn't forget them.

He was a faithful, fun-loving, adventure seeking friend, so when he had an ex-girlfriend and another acquaintance, Linda Lininger, living in Pennsylvania, he decided that would be a great opportunity for a free vacation and to see a another part of the country. His time there included a car accident because of snow covered roads, the near head on collision that drove the steering column into Bill's nose and Linda, headfirst into the dash, (no seat belts in 1976). During the ambulance ride to the hospital, Linda was semi-conscious, but praying in the Spirit. Bill and Linda recovered and recuperated at her parent's house for the next week, then attended a Spirit filled Paul Clark concert, before Bill flew back to Texas.

Bill's life dramatically changed, he was as Paul says in Philippians, "apprehended". He had his Damascus Road experience, Bill completely dedicated his life to serve the LORD Jesus Christ, no reservations! Born again, a new creation in Christ, his only desire was to do the will of His Father God on earth, as in heaven, and build the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33). From that point on, he rejected all this world offered, rock and roll albums and his TV were smashed and burned along with all other paraphernalia. He pressed hard after God, reading and studying the Bible and seeking Jesus in prayer, every minute he wasn't at work. His communication with Linda continued through letter writing, sharing Christian books, Bible study, and much scripture memorization. He went to work early to have free long distance conversations by the plant Watts line. Bill also became associated with a group, newly arrived in east Texas from California, "The Agapeforce" and a Bible teacher and evangelist Leonard Ravenhill. He was a regular at their "Tuesday Night Specials", worshiping and eagerly absorbing the Bible teaching, amid the hay bales. Bill was a fire ball for Jesus, never holding back, never looking back! He wanted to fulfill one of Ravenhill's admonitions: "It's better to burn out, than rust out!"

Bill and Linda became convinced that it was God's will for them to be married. They were engaged in May 1977, just 5 months, after the December car accident, to be married in October 1977. By November, Bill and Linda were embarking on what would be Bill's next lifetime passion: his family. Aaron Christian was born August 1978. Bill's focus from then on was to raise up a godly heritage, children who would be a part of God's Kingdom. Anyone who met Bill knew about his family and how much he loved his children.

Early in their marriage Bill and Linda lived in a very small house in Bullard, a real fixer upper. The pattern of buying what could be paid for without debt and the investing in remodeling was to be repeated several times, by God's Grace. At that time, the LORD provided Bill a very good job with ExxonMobil. His time with the company was full of amazing co-workers and various job experiences, all of which he always shared with his family. The lunches in the woods operating the backhoe or the sleepovers at the gas plant, shooting the water cannon; the children loved spending time with their Dad, as much as he did with them. Every decision, from homeschooling, to gardening, firewood cutting, raising animals, long bike rides, and the country life out by Tyler State Park, was intended to do what would benefit and bless the children and honor God. All the participation church activities, Royal Rangers, 4-H, Friday night prayer meetings, and conferences, many of these followed by an ice cream treat or slushy and were designed to instill in the family the Love of God and His Word.

Bill and Linda were involved at Community Christian Fellowship, an Agapeforce church, leading Bible Studies and small but growing home groups, committed to blessing the Body of Christ and the fellowship of the saints. Bill became more and more burdened for the youth of north Tyler, he began street preaching on the Tyler downtown square, the hang out on weekends, after cruising Broadway. He was there witnessing for Jesus every Friday night for years. This mission lead Bill and Linda to contact Joe and Charlotte Fauss at Calvary Commission, who were starting an outreach church in a storefront on West Erwin: Hope Christian Fellowship, now Church of Living Hope. Bill and Linda became involved with the Friday night soup kitchen, prayer meeting, and street witnessing. Later, children's ministry in various apartment complexes, which included the whole family, even whatever baby was in the backpack. Their home was always open to anyone lost or in need, plus home groups and prayer meetings continued. Bill's passion for his family, Kingdom ministry, and the Community of Christ made for an open door policy of hospitality, in their home, a way of life.

Bill's life blessed, encouraged, and provoked many to follow Christ, his home going is an opportunity to examine ourselves in light of Eternity. Bill is experiencing the fullness of Joy, freedom from this world's constraints, his all consuming passion now is worshiping the King of King and LORD of Lords. Holy, holy, holy...!

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, John William Cooke, Sr. and Marjorie Jones Cooke and son, Isaac Elijah Cooke. He is survived by his wife, Linda Cooke, sons, Aaron Cooke and wife Kim, Seth Cooke and wife Kimberly, Peter Cooke, Jonas Cooke and Nicolas Cook, daughters, Charity Cooke McDonald and husband Mark, Faith Cooke and Hope Cooke Garrett and husband Taylor, sister, Donna Cooke Dorough and husband Mike and grandchildren, Aaron, Kayton and William Cooke, Isaac Cooke, Olivia Preston, Archie and Louise McDonald and Michalah Garrett

A funeral service for Bill will be scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Tyler Memorial Funeral Home located at 12053 State Highway 64 West, Tyler, Texas 75703 and a graveside service will follow at Tyler Memorial Park Cemetery.

Services
8 AUGUST
Funeral Service
3:00 pm
TYLER MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME
Chapel
12053 State Highway 64 W
Tyler, Texas 75704

8 AUGUST
Committal Service
4:00 pm
TYLER MEMORIAL CEMETERY
12053 State Highway 64 W
Tyler, Texas 75704

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