This past summer when he retired, Ray Cook’s life transitioned quickly from Wichita family physician to enthusiastic grandfather.
“When he retired that was a struggle,” said Brent Van Hook, senior pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene. “He loved what he was doing, and he said he didn’t want to give it up. But he was especially turned on to being a full-time granddad.”
In fact, a few days before he died, he traveled to Kansas City to be with his grandchildren and perform with them as a cicada in a second-grade play. Then he took a cruise to Greece with his wife, Elaine.
While still on their trip, Dr. Cook died last Wednesday. He was 69.
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Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at First Church of the Nazarene, 1400 E. Kellogg Drive.
Dr. Cook was born Nov. 16, 1942. He was the son of a Nazarene minister and grew up in the South, developing an affinity for history and the Civil War
He was a graduate of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla. He studied medicine at the University of Kansas and received his doctorate of medicine from the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Cook and his wife, Elaine, moved to Wichita in 1971.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, he appeared weekly on KWCH, Channel 12, as the station’s medical expert. He served as the Wichita State University basketball team doctor and in the same capacity for various local high school teams.
More recently, he invested in local start-up businesses. Some were medical related, such as Health Care Plus, Physicians Corporation of America and Sterling House. He invested in Bluegrass Estates at 167th Street and Pawnee, and Legend Senior Housing with Tim Buchanan.
“He was the model of a very generous and dedicated Christian who lived his life after the model of Christ,” Buchanan said Tuesday. “He always brought that to his relationships, both personal and business. He was always listening to people and incredibly generous. Many benefitted from his friendship.”
Dr. Cook practiced medicine in Wichita for 38 years. He served for more than three decades on the board of trustees for MidAmerica Nazarene University in Ottawa and on the denomination’s General Board.
He also helped launch the Jesus Film Harvest Partners, a partnership with Campus Crusade for Christ’s Jesus Film Project.
“He had his hand in a lot of things,” Van Hook said. “And anytime you did something good, he found joy in that. That is why he is going to be missed so greatly.”
Dr. Cook is survived by wife, Elaine; daughter, Candi (Mark) Brown of Spring Hill; son, Chad (Jill) Cook of Overland Park; brother, Gene (Linda) Cook of Phoenix City, Ala.; grandchildren, Ben, Will, Graham and Betsy Brown, and Johnny Ray, Spencer, Freddie and Lucy Cook.
In lieu of flowers, the following memorial has been established: D. Ray Cook, M.D. Memorial Fund, c/o Christian Network Foundation, 17001 Prairie Star Pkwy., Suite 200, Lenexa, KS 66220 (www.CNFoundation.org).