Church, MNU mourn loss of Ray Cook
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Athens, Greece
By NCN News Staff
Dr. D. Ray Cook, 69, of Wichita, Kansas, passed away on Thursday while traveling in Europe with his wife, Elaine. According to Brent Van Hook, the Cooks' pastor at Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, Ray collapsed with an apparent heart attack.

Ray served the Church of the Nazarene in many areas, including at the Church of the Nazarene Foundation, JESUS Film Harvest Partners, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and on the denomination's General Board.

He studied at Harvard University before transferring to Bethany Nazarene College (now Southern Nazarene University), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (pre-med) degree. Ray went on to study at the University of Kansas and earn a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Kentucky.

He served his local church, Wichita First Church, as a board member, Sunday School teacher, and Nazarene Youth International president. Ray was also a member of the District Advisory Board and an active member of the community. He had a family practice in Wichita for 38 years.

Ray served on the MNU Board of Trustees for 33 years, including from 1999-2009 as chair. He was a longtime supporter of the university.

"Through the years, Dr. Cook provided leadership and generous support for many major improvements to our campus, including the Cook Center, named in his honor; Bell Cultural Events Center; and the Harvest Prayer Sculpture, which was his special gift to our campus," MNU President David Spittal said. "His compassion for those in need and for the ministries of the church was clearly evident in the life he led. The many gifts he gave were offerings to the Lord he loved. He did not seek honor for himself, but lived the life of a servant, and influenced the lives of those who had opportunity to know him.

"Dr. Ray Cook was a true pioneer," Spittal said on Thursday. "We honor his life and his memory today and will forever be blessed by his legacy. Today the MNU community celebrates the life of Dr. Ray Cook, and we do so with the knowledge that he is now in the presence of the One he has loved and served."

In 1997, the Cooks were one of five lay couples who helped launch a partnership with Campus Crusade for Christ' Jesus Film Project. Since then, the organization has grown into JESUS Film Harvest Partners. Cook was the first board chair.

"Ray and Elaine Cook have been part of the backbone of the ministry and were instrumental in establishing the initial vision of the ministry," said Brian Helstrom, JFHP executive director. "They have been some of the main supporters of the JFHP. He always wanted to be responsible win to Christ at least the number of people who lived in Wichita, Kansas, his hometown, via the work of the church through the JFHP."

Ray was a member of the Church of the Nazarene's General Board from 1984-2005. He and Elaine have two children, Candice Brown (Mark), and Chad (Jill); and eight grandchildren. Mark Brown serves as vice president of Nazarene Publishing House. Jill Cook is the daughter of General Superintendent J. K. Warrick.

Ray's memorial service will be held Saturday, November 17 at 11 a.m. at Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, followed immediately by a reception in the church's gymnasium.

Limited seating will be available in the main sanctuary. Multiple on-campus locations will be set up as overflow sites with live viewing of the service available on large screens. The memorial service will also be streamed live online.

Prayer is requested for the Cook family. More information will be posted as it is made available.

MidAmerica Nazarene University contributed to this article. 
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  • 51 years ago, I was on a singing tour of Asia with Ray Cook. Even then his good humor and genero... BILL-MARES on 11/16/12
  • Elaine, words cannot express our sadness and deep sympathy we feel over Ray's passing. We know t... MHINKLE on 11/13/12
  • Elaine and Family: Our hearts are so saddened to hear of Ray's passing. He was a wonderful man. H... DONPHYLLISDIXON on 11/08/12