One of the most prominent business leaders in Somerset County has died.
George S. Cook, 89, Chairman Emeritus of Somerset Trust Company, died Saturday. Cook, of Davidsville, formerly of Somerset was born Aug. 15, 1922. He was the son of Ernest V. Cook and Lucy Scull, daughter of George R. Scull, founder and director of Somerset Trust Company. He was married to the former Eve Presber of Berlin, Germany.
They have six sons, 15 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
In addition to his banking career, he was also involved in many community projects and civic organizations.
Linda Fetterolf, chairman of the Allegany College of Maryland Somerset County Campus Foundation, said the county has lost a real inspirational leader.
"He's been involved since the beginning," she said about the start of the college in Somerset. "He and I co-chaired the first capital campaign" to bring the college here 21 years ago. "We've been buddies for a long time."
She remembers traveling with George and the other committee members to speak to all the service clubs in the county about the need for a local college. "He was an inspiration to everyone who met him."
She said he was always committed to the college, including the last race fund raiser. "In August in the middle of his treatment for cancer, he still walked our 5 K (3.1 mile) race."
He's one of those people who didn't have to say much. But when he spoke, everyone listened. He was such a down to earth grass roots type of person," she explained.
Long-time friend Hank Parke said he will miss Mr. Cook's sense of humor.
Mr. Cook and Parke served together on the board of directors for the Somerset County Rails-to-Trails Association. Cook supported trail efforts for more than 20 years.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone as community-minded as George (Cook)," Parke said. "He worked tirelessly for the community."
When the Big Savage Tunnel was completed along the Great Allegheny Passage, Mr. Cook and his family were the first to ride through the 3,294-foot tunnel.
Parke said Cook was hands-on with everything he was involved with.
"He really believed in the project," Parke said. "And anything George (Cook) believed in, he got behind 100 percent.
"He'll really be missed."
John Fiesta, past Rotary district governor, said, "I'm more than proud to be associated with George."
He explained that Mr. Cook led the area's Polio Plus campaign. Through Rotary International's efforts the disease is now 99 percent eradicated throughout the world. "It was people like George who dug up the money to make this possible," he said.
Fiesta described him as very philanthropic to the Rotary Foundation. He was a major donor and Rotary honored him with the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service. Fiesta said only 150 citations are given out each year among 1.3 million Rotarians. Mr. Cook served in various offices in the club including as president. He was active in the seven county District 7330, where he served on various committees over the years.
Somerset loses community leader
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