Española Icon Richard Cook Dies

Businessman Richard Cook, right, visits with Española Mayor Alice Lucero and State Sen. Richard Martinez last year during his 90th birthday party. Courtesy/ 
Valley Daily Post
Richard P. Cook, one of New Mexico’s wealthiest self-made businessmen and pillar of the Española community passed away Monday, April 17. Cook had recently celebrated his 91st birthday but in spite of his age remained active in the community, with the help of his family.

The Valley Daily Post covered his 90th birthday celebration last year at Cook’s True Value in Española. During that party, Cook told the Valley Daily Post that he was pulled from working in the family lumber mill (next to present site of Cook’s True Value) and sent to Denver University, where he received a B.A. in business before returning to run the family business, which he grew into a northern New Mexico institution (Click HERE to read birthday story.)

Throughout his life, Cook worked in a sawmill, a sand and gravel business, herded sheep in the Jemez mountains and later served in the Navy during World War II as a “frogman”, the precursor to the Navy SEALs.

Cook was fond of helping the Valley’s youth and donated money and materials to them for many years. A self-made multimillionaire, Cook was very unassuming and lived and dressed like anyone else in the community. Though beloved by many, Cook was known as a man with a strong personality who would, on occasion, tousle with local groups over the development of his businesses.

But he was always a strong supporter of the area’s youth, which endeared him to many of the Valley’s residents. Española Mayor Alice Lucero said of Cook during his birthday party, “No matter what may be happening, Mr. Cook was always ready and able to support the Valley’s children.”

Richard Cook was born and raised in Española, a city he loved from the bottom of his heart. Cook was 91. At the time of publishing, no service arrangements had been announced. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Richard P. Cook, visit the Sympathy Store.