Dr. Cook’s Biography
Robert Andrew Cook was born in Santa Clara, California, on June 7, 1912. Joining his 10-year-old sister, Mildred, he was the second child born to Charles and Daisy Cook. At 16 months, his mother tragically passed away from complications during childbirth. After Daisy’s death, the young family of three relocated across the country to Toledo, Ohio, to be closer to family and friends living there.
At the age of 6, Robert entrusted his life to Christ. An extremely bright child from an early age, Bob learned how to read from paging through his mother’s old Bible. He was also gifted mechanically, and though he aspired to one day own a car dealership, his father encouraged him to attend Moody Bible Institute when he was only 16 years old. While at Moody, he sensed God’s call to a life of ministry. In jest, he often referred to the notion of going from “grease pit to pulpit.”
From Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, Bob went to Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and then to Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From the time he was in Wheaton College, until after his seminary graduation, Bob served in the pastorate around the Chicago metropolitan area. In total, Dr. Cook spent 18 years as a full-time pastor in addtion to teaching Bible at Philadelphia College of Bible. In 1935, he was married to Coreen Nilsen – they later had three daughters together.
In 1948, Dr. Cook left the pastorate to become the second President of Youth for Christ International where he served for ten years. Under his leadership, Youth for Christ began Youth for Christ High School Bible Clubs, as well as grew large enough to engage on an international level.
In 1957, Bob began his term as Vice President of Scripture Press in Wheaton, Illinois. It was there that he learned the power of the printed page.
In 1962, Dr. Cook accepted the Presidency of The King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, New York. During his twenty-three years as president, the college grew exponentially, achieved accreditation, and impacted thousands of young people for the gospel. In 1963, while serving as president of The King’s College, he started the landmark radio broadcast program, “The King’s Hour.” Dr. Cook retired from the college Presidency in 1985, but served as Chancellor of the college until his death in 1991.
Dr. Cook held many distinguished offices and accolades throughout his life. Among other positions, Bob served as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, as well as President and Executive Director of the National Religious Broadcasters. In addtion to recieving a Heritage Foundation Award, Bob was bestowed with honorary doctorates and honors from a number of universities and community organizations across the world. Always deeply invested locally, Dr. Cook was community-appointed as a special patrolman on the police force, as well as a chaplain for the Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Fire Department.
A gifted writer, Dr. Cook’s most popular book on the basics of the Christian life, “Now That I Believe,” has been translated into 27 different languages, sold more over 1,000,000 copies, and is still in print today from Moody Publishers. Bob also wrote a daily devotional book entitled, “Today With The King,” as well as another book titled, “Walk With The King Today,” which serves as a compilation of his early booklets and writings.
Remembered as a writer, pastor, evangelist, and administrator, Dr. Robert Cook combined his many special talents to serve his Lord and Savior in unique ways. Though to those who knew him best, either over the airwaves or across the table, Bob Cook’s greatest qualities went far deeper than his job titles. He was an encourager and eminently approachable; he was at home with presidents, as well as everyday people; he was a caring and loving husband and father. It’s no wonder that people still exclaim, “I just love Dr. Cook!”