James Brian Cook, 68, died on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, at his home in North Chattanooga.
He was a native Chattanoogan, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, an electrical engineer and an entrepreneur.
Mr. Cook attended Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, where he excelled in basketball, making three all-city teams and receiving one all-state honorable mention. After graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was trained in advanced electronics and during two tours of duty in Vietnam directed use of top-secret three-dimensional ship-board radar.
After six years in the Navy, Mr. Cook enrolled in electrical engineering at the University of Florida. Drawing on his naval training and experience, he received his degree, with honors, in just over two years.
In 1974 he joined Modcomp, a start-up technology company in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and from there moved to Shell Oil in Houston, Tx. He was a pioneer in process control engineering, which involves putting complex industrial processes under computer control. He was the youngest division manager in Shell history to that date, and applications developed under his leadership were used in Royal Dutch facilities around the world.
In 1983, Mr. Cook moved his family to St. Augustine, Fla., where he established his own process control engineering company: G.F.S. Computing Inc. In cities across this country, as well as abroad, Mr. Cook and his engineers designed and installed computer controls on all types of industrial processes, from pharmaceutical manufacturing to municipal wastewater treatment. He led the company until his retirement at age 50.
An avid sailor and licensed Coast Guard captain, Mr. Cook’s joy was to take friends and family on day sails aboard his catamaran, the Panta Rei, and to spend long weeks cruising and living aboard with his wife Patrice.
He is survived by his wife, Patrice (Pat) Wilcox, of Chattanooga; three daughters, Jane Ziolkowski, Stephanie Brice and Maria Cook, and two sons-in-law, Bob Ziolkowski and Gary Brice, all of the St. Augustine area; one grandson, John Brian Brice, of St. Augustine; his first wife and mother of his children, Peggy R. Cook of St. Augustine; two sisters, Stephanie Cook Sumrell of Sale Creek, Tennessee, and Madeleine Tidball of Beeville, Texas.
The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the residence (505 Barton Avenue). Graveside services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Chattanooga National Cemetery, 1200 Bailey Ave.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, 7625 Hamilton Park Dr. #22, Chattanooga, TN, 37421; or Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Dr., Chattanooga, TN, 37416.
Arrangements are by Cremation Center of Chattanooga; 1345 Hickory Valley Road, 423 362-5999.