Arthur Stevens Cook

Arthur Stevens Cook

April 04, 1936 ~ May 19, 2021

Born in: Fargo, North Dakota
Resided in: Mission Viejo, California

Arthur Stevens Cook (aka “Art”), born in Fargo, North Dakota, peacefully went home to the Lord surrounded by family on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at the age of 85. Raised in La Crosse Wisconsin, Art and his wife Pat of 62 yrs moved to California in 1959.

Art was born to Burton and Mary Cook (née Wadden) and the eldest of five boys; Dick, Father Bob, Gary, and Kevin. After meeting the lead actress of Showboat, he had eyes for no one but her. Art and Pat (née, Price) married after receiving his undergrad in Business Administration from Loras College, IA, then entered the Navy as an officer. Thereafter, Art completed his law degree from Pacific Coast University in Long Beach, CA.

A large family followed and the Cook’s were deeply involved in all things kids and community; recreation, sports and especially with the Catholic church. Art is survived by his devoted wife Pat, five children and spouses: Steve (Mary d. 2009, Sheryl), Mike (Laurie), Tom (Lisa), Marie (Rob), Chris (Lori) and seven grandchildren: Steven, Bremen, Sarah, Miranda, Robert, Dylan and Michael. He is also survived by his four brothers mentioned above.

As a known ‘community rustler’, Art Cook was ‘wanted’ in association with the development of the west’s most notorious planned communities: Mission Viejo, California, Highlands Ranch, Colorado and Aliso Viejo, California. This twenty seven year veteran of  ‘special events’ is known for his quick wit, easy grin and smiling voice. Sources report he was last ‘heard’ to be masquerading as ‘the voice’ of Mission Viejo Company where he was known for many years as ‘golden throat’ the director of community relations. We all knew local developers were itchin’ to get this infamous organizer on their side!

During Art’s lifetime, he was steadfast in his love and generous of his time for his family and friends. He was loving, eloquent, fun, forgiving, fair, and patient. He was a fan of the Green Bay Packers, daily Mass, music, Sudoku, and travels far and wide with Pat. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him, but we know exactly where this ‘most wanted’ man will remain for all time.


Funeral Mass: June 23, 2021 10:00 am

St. Kilian Catholic Church
26872 Estanciero
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

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Guestbook Entries

  1. Patrick McMenamy June 2, 2021 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Dear Pat and Family,

    We’re so sorry to learn of Art’s passing and want to extend to you our deepest sympathy.

    I’ve known Art since our Paper Boy days together delivering the La Crosse Tribune. We attended Aquinas High School with me being in Fr. Bob’s class. After our move to California, Fr. Bob was instrumental in connecting us together.

    We were members of the Aquinas Alumni assoc. for Southern CA. sharing fun times and creating fond memories, before our move to the CA Central Coast

    Be assured Art and the entire Cook family will be remembered in our thoughts and prayers at daily mass.

    Patrick and Elaine McMenamy

  2. Bill Leonard June 2, 2021 at 3:03 pm - Reply

     Art and I shared grade school, high school, and college years. I spent a lot of time in the house on South 9th Street, serving, and by turn saying, Mass in the attic at a homemade altar and then boxing in the basement, an odd juxtaposition of activities. Art’s father Burton was a dignified Mr. Peepers kind of guy and Mother Mary was the creme de la creme of mothers. I was from a much more hardscrabble background and always found peace at the Cook house. Once past college we saw very little of each other, a continent apart. He was a bright light, a smiling presence, and a good guy. Pat, my deepest condolences. I could choose to remember a lot of things around Art. We both would remember Gloria Vingers ears being tied to her desk, but I can’t bring that up because I promised her I would not. I think I will remember instead Art’s role in Oklahoma on the Loras stage. May the angels lead him into paradise.
    Bill Leonard

  3. Terry Cooper June 2, 2021 at 4:14 pm - Reply

     I’m so sorry to hear of Art’s passing. He was heavily involved in Highlands Ranch. Dave and I were part of the Community Activities Group and enjoyed many of the activities he “wrangled” up for us. I will always remember his voice and his can do attitude. I hope he reconnects with Dave in the afterlife.

  4. Liz Vaughn (Elizabeth 'Buchner) June 3, 2021 at 6:53 am - Reply

     I went to St. Joseph’s Grade School and Aquias High School with Art. .He was pleasant and a true gentleman at all times.. My sympathy to Pat and his family..

  5. Marie Camire June 3, 2021 at 10:44 am - Reply

     I Love you Daddio! I know your soul is within each one of us! Thank you for being the best Dad a girl could ask for! Love you Mom! Thank you for blessing each one of us with your unconditional love & support.

  6. Jim Duncan June 3, 2021 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Art had class, composure, and many talents. I was envious, but appreciative. I first met and got to know him in Dubuque, Iowa at Loras College, then a mens only school. We palled around together there, often with Patrick Wallace, who was one of the few students who had a car (a 1950s era Studebaker). After Loras it took several years before we found out we were both living in Orange County in California. We’ve kept in touch since then and deepened our friendship. I, like so many others who knew Art and know Pat, was saddened to learn that he had contracted the tough disease that finally has brought all of us to this time of recollection and reflection. My wife, Katie, and I extend our condolences to Pat and all of Art’s closest family members and friends. He was indeed a great example of God’s best work.

  7. Tom Cook June 3, 2021 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Tom Cook

    My fondest memories of Dad was when we would take horseback rides and the activity wasn’t about organizing for others. They were brief moments to see and be with my dad in the time of his own pleasure and the pusuit of riding his horse on the open range, whether it was early Aliso Viejo, Highlands Ranch or Roundup Riders of the Rockies My dad the community activities director was at peace with his own personal activity. I feel so blessed and cherish these special times that he shared with me. Growing up Dad was in charge of ALL the activities. Mission Viejo Days the Mission Viejo Nadadores the Rec. centers, the parades from St Patrick’s Day to the Rose bowl sweepstakes winner, Lake Mission Viejo, the Ranch cattleman brandings and the Mansion BBQs. Dad really didn’t know the difference between work and pleasure because his work consisted of all the activities that brought the community together and that was the job God suited him to do. I believe that God would be pleased with the work that you’ve done Dad. I’m looking forward to a good ride in heaven with you someday. Keep smiling Dad, I love you, Rest in Peace.

  8. Chris Cook June 3, 2021 at 3:45 pm - Reply


    Art Cook was a brave dignified hero who, last week, taught us how to pass away. His most dominant trait, that his family strives to emulate, is his ability to recognize a good time. Not only were his smiling eyes contagious, he also spread happiness with his smiling voice. We celebrate his successful life and his positive influence on all he encountered.

  9. Tom Cook June 3, 2021 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Tom Cook
    Highlands Ranch Historical Society
    Cattle ranching and social events in the ’80s

  10. Lisa Marie Cook June 3, 2021 at 8:29 pm - Reply

     I’m an outlaw ~.

    Though I officially became a Cook nearly 17yrs ago, this rodeo has been going on most of my life. Art’s love and showing up for his kids didn’t stop at kid number 5 or at in-law #4 (or even after me). I’m the lucky kid that was raised around the Cook family since I was 8yo.
    A few Art-ful thoughts….
    – He made sure to give us kids his million dollar smile, a hug and a kiss hello or goodbye, and another and another. Forever the flirt.
    – He cheered on my career and insisted I correct my email address shortly after getting married – Tanner to Cook. So there’s that.
    – We bonded over the same obsessive travel organizing trait, as he and mom treated all of us to Hawaii again and again. We got our mutual fix.
    – He showed me what a dedicated husband looks like – sorry babe, cats out of that bag, no pressure.
    – His faith was strong and in the open yet close to the vest as many men do, or perhaps I wasn’t paying attention; pray for me Dad!
    – As a provider, his time was his currency and he spent that freely and with abandon with each of us.
    – His business acumen was simple, it’s about the people and community and everything else works itself out; the Mission Viejo Company and Highland’s Ranch Colorado were lucky to have him. Well done, Dad!
    – He made me a Packers fan but I draw the line at drinking Miller beer. Fear not, Dad, I did enjoy saluting you with a tipple of 14yo Oban scotch.

    On his last Sunday, I put both hands on his beard-shadowed cheeks and I said “I love you Dad and sang him a silly little song quietly.” He gave me that million dollar smile, twinkling eyes and all, and said, “I love you and I’m proud of you.”

    So yes, I’m an outlaw that you want to be if you are an in-law by marriage; I am most wanted and a better person for it❤️

  11. Chris Sherman June 4, 2021 at 8:40 pm - Reply

     Good memories of your dad indulging us by putting the company suburban in 4wd to go up El Mar Dr. I remember him as a good man and hard worker.

    • Chris Sherman June 4, 2021 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Oh, and he use to say search lights were looking for gum ball machines and taught us the meaning of padiddle.

  12. Paul Brown June 12, 2021 at 2:31 pm - Reply


    Aloha and love to all the Cook family. I never had the pleasure of meeting Art but have been honored to have been a friend of his son Tom for many years. Art’s charm, wit, integrity and strength shine brightly in Tom and what greater tribute is there to a man then to have raised great children. Our deepest condolences to all who know Art. 

    Paul Brown

  13. Charles Price June 15, 2021 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Charles & Christine Price
    Art, you were the best brother-in-law. Fit right in the family like a well oiled catchers mitt. We always looked forward to the Super bowl parties and your Brats. Especially when Green Bay was playing. We miss you and love you always.
    Thanks for being you.

  14. Nancy, Leslie and Gordon Mitchell June 21, 2021 at 6:24 pm - Reply


  15. Nancy, Leslie and Gordon Mitchell June 21, 2021 at 6:28 pm - Reply

     Art was such a wonderful person. He will be sorely missed!

  16. Mary Coner June 22, 2021 at 10:39 pm - Reply


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