Dr. John Wesley Cook, President of the Henry Luce Foundation from 1992 to 2002, died in his home in Houston, Texas on April 14, 2019. On behalf of the Luce Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff, Margaret Boles Fitzgerald, Chair of the Board, and President Michael Gilligan extend sincere condolences to his daughter Stephanie Ayles and son J. Clayton Cook and their family. Michael Gilligan noted, “A national leader in theology and the arts, John Cook led the Luce Foundation through a decade of unprecedented growth in its professional staff, programs and financial assets. Since his retirement, the Foundation has built on all of his accomplishments, grateful for his vision, creativity and leadership.”
A memorial service was held at Yale Divinity School on June 17.
From the Cook Family
Dr John W Cook
Dr. Cook died peacefully in his sleep on April 14, 2019.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Phyllis D. Cook. He is survived by his daughter Stephanie Ayles and partner Stephen DePatie of Texas, his son John Clayton Cook of Connecticut, and his three grandchildren Rylie, Cameron, and Parker Ayles of Texas.
Dr. Cook, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, was a passionate advocate of theological education and a pioneer in the area of Religion and the Arts. Rev. Cook resided as Pastor of River Oaks Baptist Church (1963-1965) and 1st Congregational Church of Derby, CT (1965-1968) before being called to teaching. He received a Master's of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a Master’s of Philosophy from Yale, a doctorate in theology at the University of Bonn, and earned a Ph.D. in Art and Architecture at Yale. He received many honors and fellowships throughout his career. Of the many were a doctorate from his alma mater, Baylor University, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, and Professor Emeritus from Yale. For 28 years he taught courses on Christianity and the Arts at Yale Divinity School, where he also hosted colloquia and organized European study trips. He later became Director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music (1984-1992), which he served until his appointment as President of the Henry Luce Foundation (1992-2002). Dr. Cook, an author of ten books, is remembered especially for Conversations with Architects (1973) and Louis I. Kahn in Conversation (2015).