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COOK, FELIX LOPEZ, JR.

COOK, FELIX LOPEZ, JR. (1926–2012). Felix Lopez Cook, Jr., educator, was born on November 26, 1926, in Houston. He was the son of Felix L. Cook, Sr., and Mattie (Farrington) Cook. He attended the public schools of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and in 1944 graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School, where he participated in football and track. In 1948 Cook earned a bachelor of science degree from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where, prior to graduation, he had continued to excel in track and football. He was very proud to have been a member of the 1945 Wiley National Championship football team. Subsequently, he got his master's degree in higher education from Texas Southern University and pursued advanced studies at the University of Houston. Ultimately, he was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Wiley College.

Cook was employed by the Houston Independent School District for thirty-six years. For many of those years, he both coached football and taught social studies, science, and physical education at Phillis Wheatley High School. After leaving Wheatley, he worked in various administrative offices for HISD. He had the distinction of being the first black principal to serve Sharpstown High School, a mostly white secondary school in HISD. At the time of his retirement in 1986, Cook was HISD's Deputy Superintendent of Personnel.

For twenty years, Cook served as an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University, where his courses on personnel management, school law, professional negotiation, and human relationships impacted a generation of students. Cook also served on numerous boards, including the Julia C. Hester House, the Harris County Sports Convention Center (HCSCC), Wiley Board of Trustees, the Harris County Hospital Board of Managers, and the Trinity Gardens Baptist Church Deacon Board. He also helped establish the Houston Partnership and was a member of the State Board of Education’s advisory board under former Texas Governor Mark White.

Over the years, Cook was the recipient of many honors. In 2006 he became the first African American, while still living, to have an HISD school named for him. The Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary School was dedicated on the same land formerly occupied by the Sanderson Elementary School when it existed as part of HISD. (His wife, Opal Augusta Ross Cook, had been a longtime teacher at Sanderson). In 2007 Cook was inducted into the Texas Southern University College of Education Hall of Fame. Other honors included Man of the Year at Sharpstown High School, Educator of the Year at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and the United Negro College Fund’s Distinguished Leadership Award. He also received appreciation awards from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the American Red Cross, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Texas Children's Hospital, and the Salvation Army.

Felix Cook died in Houston on August 8, 2012. His wife Opal and a son predeceased him. He was survived by a son and a daughter. His obituary characterized him as a “man of honor and integrity who lived and cherished God, his family, and his community.” He was buried in Brookside Memorial Park in Houston.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Houston Chronicle, August 10, 2012.

Charles McCloud

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Charles McCloud , "COOK, FELIX LOPEZ, JR. ," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcoau), accessed August 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 13, 2013. Modified on August 19, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.