Thomas "Tom" Cook III '64 May 16, 2022 11:23 AM updated: May 16, 2022 11:44 AM
Thomas Eugene Cook, III
March 8, 1940 - May 6, 2022
Thomas E. Cook, III went home to be with his LORD on May 6, 2022. Tom was born March 8, 1940, in Dallas, Texas to Thomas Eugene Cook, Jr., and Louise Moore Cook. His family moved to Palestine, Texas, in 1946 and Tom attended grades one-twelve, graduating from Palestine High School in 1958. He went on to attend college and in later years would describe his college days as Two at SMU, Three at Texas and One at Texas A & M. He did admit that he had the most fun at the University of Texas but, then, it is very hard for a college age person not to have a great time in Austin. Tom received a BBA from the University of Texas in 1963 and a MBA from Texas A & M University in 1964. That year he became a Certified Public Accountant and went to work in the Houston office of the National Accounting Firm of Haskins & Sells. After only two years, Tom joined a small local CPA firm founded by Galveston native, Vaughn Watkins "Bubba" McLeod, Jr., a personal friend whom he met while attending U.T. Austin. A short time later, Bubba requested that Tom and his wife Saundra move to Galveston and open a branch office of their firm there in 1966. The rest is history as Tom & Saundra remained in Galveston the next 56 years.
Tom never really enjoyed the work of a CPA so he quit practicing accounting in 1975 and spent most of his life working with several small businesses in and around Galveston, mainly Chalmers Hardware, Village Hardware, the Galveston Racquet Club, and a small retail strip shopping center on 61st Street. While working with all those businesses, Tom did enjoy a 19 year career with an oil field service company, Ocean Marine Services, which he co-founded with a Galveston native, Christopher J. Lowth, Jr. Ocean Marine designed, built, and operated a small fleet of offshore tug/supply vessels which supported the drilling activities of some of the largest (at that time) offshore drilling rigs in the world. Ocean Marine Services secured contracts with major oil companies to support their drilling rigs working in waters in many parts of the world. Tom was very proud of one job, in particular. It was a job he secured to tow a large semisubmersible offshore drilling rig from a position in Resurrection Bay off Seward, Alaska to relocate the rig at the mouth of the Amazon River in Belem, Brazil. Along the long tow route, Tom's tugboats and the rig made refueling stops in Manzanillo, Mexico, and Valparaiso, Chile, before circumnavigating the southern tip of South America via the treacherous waters in the Straights of Magellan, refueling again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and finally arriving four months later to a drilling location at Belem, Brazil. He also had a tank cleaning business, Marine Professional Services.
While growing up in Palestine, Tom fell in love with tennis and continued to play weekly for the next 40 years before being sidelined with knee injuries. During his three years spent at the University of Texas, Tom played several intramural sports representing his social fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. He competed in almost all sports offered including ping pong, water basketball, handball, Tennis, fast pitch softball, bowling, and flag football. Tom always claimed that while he was not great at any one particular sport, he could play lots of different sports fairly well. That proved to be the case, as Tom was named, the Outstanding Intramural Athlete at the University of Texas in 1963. Tom was proud of that accomplishment and he claimed that he was the only Beta to ever have that honor in the history of University of Texas Intramural Division.
Tommy's business dealings were just as unusual & unbelievable as him. While his dealings with major oil companies like asking them to let him use his credit card to refuel one of his super tankers in Alaska before completing the tow didn't work out, he also finalized a major real estate sale with a "hand shake". He always considered the possible outcome of whatever business decision was made on the other person while also providing opportunities for them to follow their dreams. His big heart business decision did not always prove wise, but he lived with it to the end.
Tom truly loved his family and was always there for each of them. Family gatherings and trips were always a priority for him. Tom was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his best friend and the love of his life, his wife, Saundra Selman Cook, whom he met on the tennis courts in Palestine, Texas, a daughter Paige Cook Bloodworth (Greg) of Atlanta, Georgia, a son, Thomas E. Cook IV (Nathalie) of Houston, his grandchildren Thomas McGreevy "Mac" Bloodworth, James Cook Bloodworth, McKenzie Anne Cook, and Thomas E. Cook, V. Also surviving Tom, are his two sisters, Nancy Cook Smith Shell of Houston and Dana Cook Staples of Tyler and their families.
Along with his parents and sisters, Tom has always been an animal lover and has had many pets, too numerous to mention. He leaves behind his good friend and companion, Sam, an abandoned street dog, which he and Saundra found alone, roaming their neighborhood after Hurricane Rita.
At Tom's request, there will be no funeral service – BUT, there will be a CELEBRATION of his life at Moody Methodist Church, Galveston, Texas, on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you honor Tom's memory with a gift to Galveston Island Humane Society, 6814 Broadway Street, Galveston, Texas, 77554, or the charity of your choice.