Friday, April 24, 2015

In Memoriam: Roy Cook (July 8,1943-February 18, 2015)

George Roy Cook was born in Tucson, Arizona on July 8, 1943, the only son of Mary Ortiz Cook and Charles S. ("Chuck") Cook.  Roy died at his home in San Diego at the age of 71 on February 18, 2015.   I am deeply sorry that he has left this world.  I honor his life and all that he was able to accomplish.  He was a good son to his mother who he cared for at his home in San Diego until she passed away at the age of 100 in 2008. 

Roy's mother, Mary Ortiz

Roy's father, Charles Cook
Roy had a large and loving family in Tucson, Arizona whom he maintained contact with all his life.  He never married and he had no children.  He developed long and loving relationships with many people during his life and they became his extended family.  He was a well respected member of the Native American community of San Diego County. As a teenager, he loved "hot rods" and drawing. He attended the University of Arizona after graduating from high school but dropped out to join the Army.  He was a member of the elite Special Forces ("The Green Berets"), achieving the distinction of Jumpmaster.  He loved parachuting and the comradery of his fellow soldiers.  He served many years as a reservist  in the Special Forces after his active duty.  

He lived with his mother in Vista, California and was attending Mira Costa College in nearby Oceanside when I met him. Roy was the Vice President of the college ASB and he was the Editor of the college newspaper.  I met him at a Leadership Conference that MiraCosta College held in the summer of 1968.  We became inseparable after that and enjoyed many outdoor activities like backpacking and rock climbing as well as theater, art, popular and folk music concerts.

We both attended San Diego State College together and when I transfered to the University of California, Roy pursued an art degree at San Diego State.  Initially, Roy majored in Business Administration and he wanted to practice business law but he began to focus on his art and photography and Native American culture and history and got involved in the rising Native American consciousness.  Roy's hertiage was part Indian,  Opata-Oodham and Mazopiye Wishaha,   He became a leader in the nascient movement to establish a Department of Multi-Cultural Studies at San Diego State in the 1970's. 

Roy became a Lecturer and Professor of Native American art and history at many colleges in San Diego County including: Gossmont College, San Diego Mesa, San Diego City College, and Southwestern College.    His legacy is his commitment to the preservation of the language and culture of Native Americans and he became deeply involved in the cultural traditions of San Diego County bands of Indians, becoming an accomplished drummer and "bird song singer".  He was deeply involved in Tonkawa Elders Club, the Soaring Eagles youth dance group, and the American Indian Warrior Association until his passing.  His writing was legendary and much of his life work is preserved on his blog American Indian Source.  

In 1975, Roy and I went our own separate ways. We kept in touch through the years as I married and raised a family.  After my divorce in 1999, I went out a few times with Roy. He was a "soul mate" to me, but for many different reasons, we never tied the knot.   In 2005, I left San Diego for New Mexico and Roy always kept me informed of all the wonderful things he continued to be involved with though email of his blog postings and activities.  I got a couple of emails in April that were sent from American Indian Source about the Soaring Eagles.  But when I replied, I didn't hear back from Roy. I did not know why until I received an email today from the Tonawa Elders Club which said that Roy had passed away in February.   

Here are some pictures of Roy when he was in his 20's. 

May you always soar with the eagle.   May you be at peace in your final resting place.  You will be forever missed by so many who loved and respected you.

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