William Burrall Cook died suddenly on June 9 just short of his 79th birthday. He was born in Los Angeles, the son of Thomas Lyons Cook and Margaret Burrall Cook. He attended Harvard School and went on to Stanford University where he enjoyed the Delta Upsilon life and Rossotti’s Beer Garden. But his studies — not so much. After five academic quarters, Bill’s step-father Graham Sterling introduced him to the US Navy Recruiting Office, an introduction for which he was always grateful.
For the next two years, Quartermaster Cook, aboard the USS Windam Bay, discovered his love for the sea and all things boating. Upon his discharge, he resumed his studies and graduated from Occidental College, where he was the oldest Cheer Leader in the school’s history.
Bill then settled into a long career as a Senior Project Manager with Hughes Aircraft Company, Space and Communication Group, eventually achieving Top Secret status. (He would never talk, even after a few drinks at the bar…) The highlight of his Hughes career was his stint at the Kennedy Space Center with Surveyor Launch Operations for the First Moon Landing in the 1960’s. But for Bill, the Hughes career notwithstanding, had he been born into a family with means, his true career choice would have been sailing the Seven Seas. So, while being encumbered by the demands of a full-time job, he did manage somehow to establish himself as an excellent crew and was invited on many long distance ocean races and cruises. He also crewed aboard small boats in local waters.
In 1969, Bill married Juli McKay Smock, whom he had met in Newport Beach through mutual friends in 1965. (They did not go steady for four years: They met in1965, wandered off, and rekindled the relationship in 1969.) With their two children, Charlie and Maggie, the family settled in Newport Beach in 1975.
Bill joined Newport Harbor Yacht Club in 1959 and has been an active member to this day. He served on the Race Committee for 50 years and was one of the founders of the Newport to Cabo San Lucas Race in the 1970’s. He was also a member of the Cruising Club of America and a former member of La Grulla Gun Club.
William Burrall Cook was a true gentleman and a gentle soul. Juli and Charlie(Tracy) and Maggie Broglio (Tony), along with the five grandchildren, are blessed to have had him in their lives. He will be missed. And Bill, besides his family and friends, will miss JEOPARDY, walking his beloved dog Sambeau, his travels with Juli and friends, the Yacht Patina, and his NHYC. In that order. Oh, and his scotch and water (only on special occasions, of course…)
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. Services are Pending.