The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


January 27, 2011

Virgil E. Cook

March 1, 1914 - Jan. 25, 2011

ANDERSON, Ind. — Virgil Elda Cook, 96, Anderson, died peacefully, surrounded by his family, at Countryside Manor on Jan. 25, 2011, after a brief illness.

Born on March 1, 1914, in Darke County, Ohio, he was a 1934 graduate of New Castle High School. While attending New Castle High, he met Maxine R. Morse, whom he wed in 1936. Their marriage thrived through more than 72 years, sustaining them through the Great Depression, World War II, and the tragic loss of their second daughter, Rebecca Lynne in 1949.

Virgil was a prominent industrialist, real estate developer, farmer, banker, and community leader. He moved to Anderson in 1946 from New Castle, and started Cook Block and Brick Co., manufacturing concrete blocks and bricks. The company eventually grew to be one of the largest and most successful plants of its kind. The business was sold in 2006.

Virgil also served as president of his family corporations, including Cook Concrete Corp., Rose Hill Gravel Co. and Elda Corp. Mr. Cook purchased the ground where the Mounds Mall sits in 1955, and worked closely with Mel Simon to bring to Anderson the first enclosed mall in the state of Indiana in the early 1960s. Elda continued to own the ground where the Mounds Mall shopping center was located and in 2009, Elda Corp. acquired the buildings.

Virgil also served on the board of directors of the former Citizens Banking Co. and First Citizens Bancorp for 35 years, the longest-serving director in the bank’s history. He was a past president of the Indiana Concrete Masonry Association, a past member of the Anderson Rotary Club, and was a member of the Anderson Chamber of Commerce.  

He received the Chief Anderson Award in 1993, and the Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Award in 2008.

In July of 1990, a news conference was held at Anderson City Hall. Then-Mayor J. Mark Lawler noted that the city had been aggressively pursuing the development of a pari-mutuel harness racing facility. At this news conference Anderson attorney Charles Dickmann announced that Virgil had agreed to donate 140 acres of prime commercial real estate near Interstate 69 for the track. The land was valued at more than $2 million at the time.

At one time the family owned and farmed more than 1,200 acres within the city of Anderson. The family still owns large sections of property near Hoosier Park, and along the Scatterfield Road corridor.

He is survived by four children, Jennie C. Taylor of Anderson, Virgil E. II (wife, Vicki) Cook of Anderson, Pamela S. (husband, Thomas) Cooper of Indianapolis, and Natalie J. (husband, Ronald) Campbell of Anderson; 13 grandchildren, Robert (wife, Joan) Taylor of Annandale, Va., Rebecca Taylor of Anderson, Jennifer (husband, Adam) Neise of Noblesville, Virgil Cook III of Anderson, Joshua (wife, Tiffany) Miller of Noblesville, Amy Calfee of Lapel, William Chapman II of Anderson, Jonathon (wife Kristin) Cook of Anderson, Zachary Hart of Indianapolis, Jordan Cook of Anderson, Carly Cooper of Indianapolis, Bobby (wife, Sarah) Cooper of Indianapolis, and Karissa Campbell of Anderson; and 12 great-grandchildren, John Taylor, Robert Taylor, Addison Cloncs, Emma Cook, Gabriel Neise, Roxanna Cooper, Caitlin Calfee, Daniella Neise, Caden Miller, Graci Chapman, McKenzie Miller and Isla Cooper. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Jeanne McKnight; brother-in-law, Robert Morse; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Maxine; his parents, Anna and Floyd Cook; daughter, Rebecca Lynne Cook; sisters, Lavaughn Irwin and Ruth Bailey; and brothers, Donald Cook and Maurice Cook.

Services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday at Brown-Butz-Diedring Funeral Home with Pastor Chris Mishler officiating. Burial will be in Anderson Memorial Park Cemetery.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.

To honor Virgil’s great love of his many pets over the years, memorial contributions may be made to the Madison County Humane Society.

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