Saturday, April 16, 2011

RIP: Bill Cook

Indiana lost its wealthiest and most generous citizen yesterday, Bloomington's Bill Cook (80), founder of the Cook Group, a manufacturer of medical devices. Cook's investment in the French Lick Resort Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel saved those architectural marvels for posterity. He gave very generously to IU and other universities. Most recently, he plowed more than $7 million into the old Centrum building on Indianapolis' near northside. Cook died on the eve of a grand opening gala for the renovated Indiana Landmarks Center previously scheduled for this evening. "As luck would have, Cheri and I were able to have dinner with Bill and Gayle Cook in the newly renovated Old Centrum building just last Saturday," Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement on Cook's passing. "I'll always remember that bit of good fortune, as I will always remember this legendary Hoosier." Cook will definitely be missed. Unlike the states other billionaires, he didn't have his hand out all the time asking for public subsidies to enrich himself or threatening to move his business out-of-state if his company wasn't given special tax breaks. Instead, he was always looking for ways to help other Hoosiers with the wealth he and his wife were fortunate to accumulate from their family business.


M Theory said...

My friend David Scott, an inner city street minister, met Mr. Cook just a couple days ago at the Centrum. He wanted to help set up meetings for Dave to help with his work. Up to the end, he was motivated to use his position to help others.

LA Sunset said...

Speaking from direct experience, his products were top of the line. They accounted for the saving of many lives and have improved the health of many people, along the way.

Empires start with a good idea and the freedom to implement that idea. They start small and are allowed to grow as the market allows. This is how Cook built his empire.

interestedparty said...

This man spoke at my son's IU winter graduation in about 2000. At the time I did not fully know who he was. His manner was unassuming but very inspirational. I also know a smart young person who worked for one of his enterprises in Bloomington for abut two years after graduation. The division did very well and was an attractive buy for a major pharma company. Mr. Cook told the workers that they had been the reason for the company's success and attractiveness and therefore he wanted to reward them for a job well done. They all got generous shares of the proceeds and my young friend used hers for a down payment on a house. The pharma is still located in Indiana, so I am thinking Mr. Cook may have been responsible for that, too, and helped stem Indiana's brain drain.