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Jim Cook remembered for community involvement in Citrus Heights

By Mike Hazlip—
Friends and family remember Jim Cook as a family man who was active in the community. Cook passed away on Aug. 21, and amid the festivities of Saturday’s Howl-o-Ween event at Rusch Park, Cook’s brother, Bill Cook, remembered him fondly.

“He was a good guy,” Cook said of his brother. “Him and I lived real close together, we worked together. We both had a good career and a good life.”

While Bill Cook is better known for his involvement in the Citrus Heights marching band, brother Jim Cook was also a vital part of Citrus Heights for many years.

Jim and Bill Cook both worked as superintendents for Robert Powell construction, overseeing work for high profile developments such as Gold River housing development in Rancho Cordova and the Pavilions shopping center in Arden-Arcade.

Citrus Heights Community Marching Band Director Kody Tickner called Cook his “unofficial” uncle and “an amazing chef, a comedian, and an all-around great human being.”

“He was known for his rigid work ethic, having ran huge construction crews alongside his brother, Bill, for over 40 years,” said Tickner. “But as tough of a boss as he was, he was someone you could trust, who you knew could see the best in everyone around him.”

During an Aug. 25 City Council meeting, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said Cook “gave a lot to his community,” and was often in attendance at meetings at City Hall.

In an interview with The Sentinel, Bruins also recalled Cook’s devotion to his family.

“Just a really good family man,” Bruins said. “He’s got two daughters, a bunch of grandkids, and a few greats.”

Bruins said the brothers lived near one another in an area that is now home to the Bill and Kathy Cook Performing Arts Center.

Jim Cook and his wife Bertha were married 53 years, until Bertha’s death in 2016. The couple met when Jim Cook was home on leave from the Navy, and married in 1962, records show.

In a video interview produced by the Citrus Heights History and Arts Commission, Bertha Cook recalled her involvement with the Citrus Heights Parade Committee, while Jim Cook recalled his work restoring various classic cars that had been in the city’s past Red, White and Blue Parades.

Today, Bill Cook continues the family’s legacy in community development projects by planning a new outdoor performance venue at Rusch Park. Cook says the project will be the largest such venue in Northern California and plans to name it after his late wife, Kathy.

The Sentinel previously reported that fundraising efforts are currently underway, and Cook hopes to complete the project by the spring of 2023.

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