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Cook family mourns the loss of family patriarch

Steve Cook, who with his son William co-founded Cook Tractor Company in 1988, died Saturday. He was 90 years old.

“My grandfather was one of the greatest men I have known. For him it was always about church and family. We all went to church together and the business was all family, so it was always take care of family no matter what,” grandson Adam Cook said.

Adam Cook, who now along with his father, William, and two more of Steve Cook’s grandsons continues to run the family business, described his grandfather as “firm but fair.”

“He treated everybody equally. He did not see race or color or gender or poverty level. He treated everybody the same in business. He and my dad have given us a great name to live off of and a good reputation,” Adam Cook said.

“One of my dad’s proudest accomplishments was starting Cook Tractor and being able to have his grandsons carry it on,” William said.

Steve was born in Yazoo County and was the first in his family to graduate from college when he graduated from Mississippi State.

He moved to Vicksburg in 1952 and opened Valley Mills, a feed mill, and later took a job with McGraw Edison as a personnel manager.

“While at McGraw Edison he put them on a four-day work week, and he was also the first in the state to start a three-day work week,” Williams said. “A lot of people in this town remember him from when they worked with Mr. Steve.”

Like his son Adam, William described his father as a man of God.

“He was a fine Christian man and was such an example at this church (Trinity Baptist) and before at Woodlawn Baptist Church,” William said. “Also, my father thought there was nothing more important than family, and he also felt it was important to raise your family with Christian ideals.”

Steve was one of the founders of the Port City Kiwanis, along with Robert Pickett and Jim Stirgis.

“He was also a Gideon for many years. I have a picture of him giving U.S. Sen. John Stennis a Gideon Bible,” William said.

In addition to instilling Christian values to his family, daughter Susan Sullivan said, her dad also taught them to love Mississippi State University.

“He loved his Mississippi State Bulldogs,” Sullivan said.

Born in Yazoo County, Steve was the son of Eddie Leo Cook Sr. and Corene Cook. He was a graduate of Satartia High School, Copiah Lincoln Junior College and Mississippi State University. Steve has been a resident of Vicksburg since 1952. He worked as mill manager for Valley Mills and personnel manager for McGraw Edison. He opened Cook Tractor Company in 1988. He was a charter member of Port City Kiwanis and a former member of Gideons International. He served as moderator for the Warren County Baptist Association and was a member of Trinity Baptist Church, where he served in all areas of lay leadership.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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