Photo Album: Birth, Boyhood, and College Years

He was born into a family whose pockets were empty and circumstances tragically overwhelming. Hard times can prove to break anyone’s faith, but Bob Cook’s humble beginnings ultimately helped form him into the man everyone would come to know as faithful, kind, and God-fearing. These photographs chronicle the challenges, victories, and memories of the young Dr. Cook.

Mr and Mrs John Gray
Mr. and Mrs. John Gray (Dr. Cook’s grandparents) and their two children, Daisy (Dr. Cook’s mother), and Bertram (Dr. Cook’s Uncle Bert).

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Grampa Gray
Grampa Gray in his later years.

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Carl Hague
Carl Hague (nephew of Daisy Grey) in a Thomas Automobile, ca. early 1900’s

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Dr. Cook's mother
Dr. Cook’s mother, Daisy (right), and uncle Bertram (left), ca. 1890

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lulu gray and veda hague
Lulu Gray and Veda Hague in a Thomas Automobile.
Dr. Cook and his sister Mildred stayed with these families for a short time after the death of their mother.

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Carl on a motorcycle
Carl Becker and Lulu (niece of Dr. Cook’s mom) on an early 1900’s Indian motorcycle.
Could this be the seedling of Dr. Cook’s love of motorcycles?

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Dr. Cook's Aunts
Charley Cook’s (Dr. Cook’s father) four sisters: Esther, Mattie, Sadie, and Ida.
Dr. Cook’s Aunt Sadie Cook went on to be a missionary in India and spent many more years overseas.

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Ida and Aunt Sadie
Ida Hague and Aunt Sadie Cook

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Cancelled indian passport
Sadie Cook’s cancelled Indian passport

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Relaxing in Rocking Chairs
Aunt Sadie and Dr. Cook’s father, Charley, relaxing in rocking chairs.

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Cook as a private
Charles Andrew Cook as a young private in the Spanish American War, ca. 1898, Knoxville, TN. He went on to fight in Cuba.

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Cook in uniform.
A young Charles Cook in uniform.

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Dr. Cook's Parents
Charles and Daisy Cook (Dr. Cook’s parents)
They were married in Freemont, CA, on an unknown date.

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House in California
House in California where Mildred Cook (Dr. Cook’s older sister) was born on May 3, 1902

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Daisy, Mildred, and Charley Cook as children
Daisy, Mildred, and Charley Cook
Mildred is approximately a year old in this photo.

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Mildred as a young girl.
Mildred as a young girl.
Photo taken in Toledo, Ohio, while visiting relatives.

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Mildred and Daisy
Mildred (Dr. Cook’s sister) and Daisy (Dr. Cook’s mother)

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Summer Vacation
Daisy, Mildred, and Charley Cook on a summer vacation.
Freemont, California, ca. 1908

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Charley, Daisy, and Mildred
Charley, Daisy, and Mildred

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Visiting in Ohio
The Cook’s visiting the Armstrong’s and the Hague’s in Ohio.
Dr. Cook would go on to live with Vernon and Mollie Armstrong shortly after his mother died.

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Santa Clara House
House where Robert Andrew Cook born.
Santa Clara, CA, ca. June 7, 1912

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Cradle Roll Certificate
Cradle Roll Certificate from Santa Clara Methodist Church Sunday School

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Mildred and Robert
Mildred and Robert
An admiring relative took the one-year-old Dr. Cook to a Baby Beauty Contest at a local Annual Cherry Festival where he went on to win first place!

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Robert Cook taking a bath
Robert Cook taking a bath (one year old), ca. June 1913

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Postcard image of Methodist Episcopal Church, Perrysburg, Ohio
Postcard image of Methodist Episcopal Church, Perrysburg, Ohio (location of Daisy Cook’s funeral).
Daisy died of complications of childbirth on October 25, 1913. Her approximate birthday was March 19, 1880.

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Charley Cook singing with his wife, Daisy
Charley Cook singing with his wife, Daisy
Charley Cook getting ready for heaven, looking forward to a new pair of eyes

Learning to Walk
Robert learning to walk while visiting family in Los Gatos, CA.

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Learning to Walk - More
Dr. Cook learning to walk with his big sister, Mildred.

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First Christmas without Daisy
The first Christmas after Daisy died, ca. December 1913
Mildred (Dr. Cook’s sister), Lulu Hague, Ida Hague with Dr. Cook on lap, and Charles Cook (Dr. Cook’s father)

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Dr. Cook and Carlie Hague
Dr. Cook and Carlie Hague
Robert and Mildred stayed at the Hagues’ house in Los Angeles, CA, while en route to Ohio in April of 1914.

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Bob and Mildred Cook
Bob and Mildred Cook, ca. 1914

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Mildred and Bob
Mildred and Bob, ca. 1914

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Hague's Porch
Charley (Dr. Cook’s Father), Mildred (Dr. Cook’s sister), and Bob on the Hague’s porch in 1914.
Mildred made Bob’s outfit — she would have been about 13 at the time.

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True Mother Goose
Dr. Cook with “The True Mother Goose” book as a boy.

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Riding Bicycles
Charley, Mildred, and young Robert riding bicycles in Toledo, Ohio.

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Aunt Molly
Aunt Molly with a child (unknown)

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After Daisy
Charley, Mildred, and Bob, some months after Daisy passed away.

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Toledo, Ohio
Dr. Cook (approximately age 4), his “Aunt” Molly Armstrong, and his sister Mildred, in Toledo, Ohio.

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Aunt Molly - More
“Aunt” Molly

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Sunday Best
Mildred and young Robert in their Sunday best.

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Aunt Molly of Toledo, Ohio

Age 5
Molly Armstrong, Mildred, and Bob (age 5)

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Setzler Wedding
The Setzler’s wedding photo, ca. 1899
The Cook children went to live for a time on the Setzler’s farm in Fremont, Ohio

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Practiced his violin 2 hours/day
hid his music in a drawer

Young Bob feeding a sheep
Young Bob feeding a sheep

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Ohio Barn with little Bob standing in front
Ohio Barn with little Bob standing in front

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Vangie and Bob, ca. 1916
Vangie and Bob, ca. 1916

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Our baby Grownup
Family photo titled, “Our baby grownup”

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Story of being afraid on the farm
Setzler farm

Young Robert starting school
Young Robert starting school

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Testimony
Dr. Cook as a school boy standing in front of Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
Robert attended the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (Rev. H. E. Nelson) on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio (near Euclid Avenue). Dr. Cook accepted the Lord as his savior here when he was six years old (1918), and was shortly thereafter baptized in Lake Erie at Beulah Park, Ohio.

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Church and Missionary Conferences
Below are photos of Dr. Cook’s church and its missionary conferences that no doubt shaped his life and attitudes towards missions.

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Preschool Years
Preschool years were filled with violin lessons and practice two hours a day, with tutoring provided by professors at the school where my father was the janitor. I was, I admit, a little shaken when my violin teacher took me aside one day and said, “Robert, I must tell you that you will never be a great violinist; but if you study and practice faithfully, you may turn out to be a pretty fair fiddler.

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A baptism
A baptism
Mr. Shuman, Mr. Nelson, and Margaret.

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Learned Bible verses as a little boy
The chorus they sang in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Cleveland, OH
His conversion

Another Baptism
A baptism
Mr. Patterson and Mr. Stokes.

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Christian and Missionary Alliance meeting
Christian and Missionary Alliance meeting

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Another Christian and Missionary Alliance meeting
Another Christian and Missionary Alliance meeting

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Bob Cook’s home church
Inside of Bob Cook’s home church, Christian and Missionary Alliance Church

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Missionary conference: China
Missionary conference: China

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Missionary “League of Nations”
Missionary “League of Nations”

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Dish crew Two
Dish crew #2

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Dish crew Three
Dish crew #3

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Service not serv-us
“Service not serv-us”

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Bingo
“Bingo”

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Missions Conference group visiting from Boston
Missions Conference group visiting from Boston

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Some Scullions
“Some Scullions”

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South American Missions Conference
South American Missions Conference

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India
India

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Ohio Mailman
“You’ve got mail!”
Ohio mailman, ca. 1920

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Robert's Sunday School
Robert’s (front row) Sunday School in Old Fort, Ohio (near Fremont, Ohio)

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On the Farm
Dr. Cook (age 8) on the farm
Summer of 1920 in Fremont, Ohio.

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Sombrero
Young Dr. Cook in a sombrero

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Pulling a Wagon
Young Dr. Cook pulling a wagon

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The Farm
Story of the sulphur water they drank as a tonic
Bob had to rise at 4 or 5 AM to help milk the cows on the farm
Uncle Frank planting on the farm

With the Chickens
Young Dr. Cook with the chickens

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Feeding the Chickens
Young Dr. Cook feeding the chickens

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Charley in his Cuban sombrero
Charley in his Cuban sombrero

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Living with Friends
The Cook’s lived with the Setzler (left), and Hague (right) families on-and-off for a few years.

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Fremont, Ohio
Fremont, Ohio, ca. 1920
Left to right: Frank and Esther Setzler, Aunt Sadie, Young Robert (age 8), Mrs. Totheroh, Rev. Andrew Totheroh, and Mildred
Rev. Totheroh married Charles and Daisy Cook, and Dr. Cook was named for him (Robert Andrew Cook).

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The Cook’s
The Cook’s standing by a car in Fremont, Ohio
Left to right: Aunt Sadie Cook, Robert, Charley Cook, and Mildred

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The Cook's - More
Left to right: Mildred, Robert, and two aunts: Pearl and Sadie Cook

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Robert and his father, Charley Cook
Robert and his father, Charley Cook

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Charley Cook
Charley Cook

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Robert (Age 8) and Charley Cook
Robert (Age 8) and Charley Cook

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Late Elementary School - Caption
Fourth grade brought me to Toledo, with six months study that led to promotion to the next level. Now to a farm with another aunt and uncle, where I spent the academic year in seventh grade, having skipped fifth and sixth grades.

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Winter on the Setzler’s Farm
Winter on the Setzler’s Farm
Freemont, Ohio, ca. 1924

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Dr. Cook and his father on the Setzler farm
Dr. Cook and his father on the Setzler farm

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Young Dr. Cook
Young Dr. Cook

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High School - Caption
Eighth grade brought me back again to Cleveland, to stay with my father, Charles (they always called him Cholly) Cook. By the time for me to enter the tenth grade, we moved to Toledo, where I began a precarious career as “chief cook and bottle washer” for my father. How the dear man ever lived through those meals, I don’t know. But God was merciful to us both, and I spent the three remaining years of high school there on Toledo’s East Side, living in what was then called a “light housekeeping room”—a room with a kitchen stove, a cold water sink, a bed and some cupboards.

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Robert and his father, Charley, in Cleveland, Ohio
Robert and his father, Charley, in Cleveland, Ohio

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Spencerian Commercial School
Postcard picture of Spencerian Commercial School, on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
Robert and his father lived in a basement apartment provided as part of his father’s compensation for working there as a janitor.

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Bob cooked for his father

School picture from the Spencerian Commercial School
School picture from the Spencerian Commercial School in Cleveland, Ohio

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Down the street from the Spencerian Commercial School
Down the street from the Spencerian Commercial School

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Dr. Cook’s Junior High graduation
Dr. Cook’s Junior High graduation. Cleveland, Ohio

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High-school-aged Dr. Cook and his father
High-school-aged Dr. Cook and his father

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Charley Cook going up the stairs to his and Bob’s Nevada Street apartment
Charley Cook going up the stairs to his and Bob’s Nevada Street apartment
Toledo, Ohio

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The Cook’s Nevada Street Apartment
The Cook’s Nevada Street Apartment
Toledo, Ohio

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Nevada Street apartment
Nevada Street apartment where Dr. Cook and his father lived while Mildred was at Moody Bible Institute

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A photo of Mildred as shown in the room photo above
A photo of Mildred as shown in the room photo above (look closely!)

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Dr. Cook's Father
I suppose my best memories of my father date from those three years. For one thing, I noticed that he faced his own personal problems with his Lord and with the hope the Christian faith affords to the believer. Sometimes, with the unconscious cruelty of the very young, I would look at him and say, “What’s the matter with you, Pop?” Often he would sigh, and say, “Oh, I guess I’m just lonesome for your mother.” (Charley Cook always carried the torch for his Daisy, never remarried.) Like as not, however, he would then reach over to the book case nearby, pick out one of the scores of song books he owned, and begin to turn the pages in search of a song that fit his mood. Soon I would hear him sing, “Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye to the dearest on earth to me…” And then it wouldn’t be long before he would look over at me while I stood at the sink washing the dishes and say, “Hallelujah, my boy, one of these days I’m going to see your mother again, and we’ll walk down the golden streets of glory together.” My father had learned how to look heavenward and conquer his blues.

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High School Graduation
Dr. Cook’s High School graduation
Toledo, Ohio.

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Dr. Cook's Father Continued - Caption
My father linked his discipline of me to his commitment. I can still hear him say, “My dear boy, it would be far easier for me to say ‘Yes’ to you, than to say ‘No’ but I have to give account to God for you…I have to build your life for Him!” He never wavered in the commitment to his Lord, to his boy.

Commitment must have been the reason, then, for what I experienced many mornings in the early hours, say five or five-thirty A.M. I would awaken to hear my father praying. There he knelt, before the little gas heater that was used to warm the room on wintery days. “God bless my boy today, my motherless boy,” he would plead softly, “Keep him from harm and sin. Lead him through the day. Help him to grow up to be a man of God!”

He never knew I heard him, not that I observed him through half-closed eyes as he rose from his knees and wiped the tears from his eyes, straightened his tie, picked up his lunch pail, and went out to work.

That scene, more than sixty years ago, is clearly etched in my memory. Charley Cook’s motherless boy is still grateful, and, like his father, still praying.

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Mildred visiting from Moody
Mildred visiting from Moody

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Mildred while studying at Moody
Mildred while studying at Moody

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Dr. Cook’s father, Charley Cook, working
Dr. Cook’s father, Charley Cook, working at the Toledo Machine and Tool Company

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Car accident
The car involved in an accident in which all of Dr. Cook’s tools were stolen, temporarily putting him out of the car business.

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Cold days in Chicago
Cold days in Chicago, Illinois

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Charley Cook working at the Toledo Machine and Tool Company

Dr. Cook as a young student in Chicago
Dr. Cook as a young student in Chicago

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Laughing with friends while studying at Moody
Dr. Cook laughing with friends while studying at Moody

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Robert and his sister Mildred
Robert and his sister Mildred.
She was around to “keep on eye” on Bob while he was at Moody. He enrolled in Moody Bible Institute in August of 1928. At that time, he the youngest student ever accepted into the school.

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Dr. Cook as a young student at Moody
Dr. Cook as a young student at Moody

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Mildred and Robert.
Mildred and Robert.
The two met for prayer in Lincoln Park across from Moody Church on Sundays before the morning service.

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Robert and his sister Mildred in snowy Chicago
Robert and his sister Mildred in snowy Chicago

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Robert and Charley Cook
Robert and Charley Cook, ca. 1928

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Dr. Cook at Moody.
Dr. Cook at Moody.
During those days, he played violin on WMBI radio and led church choirs.

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Bob, Mildred, and Velma in Chicago
Bob, Mildred, and Velma in Chicago

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1930’s on Moody radio in the early morning, singing

Bob’s sister, Mildred
Bob’s sister, Mildred

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Moody Graduation
Bob’s Moody Graduation photo, ca. 1930

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Moody Graduation Continued
Dr. Cook’s Moody Bible Institute Graduation, ca. 1930

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Working on Cars
Robert worked on cars while at Moody to save money for Wheaton College.

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Dr. Cook while studying at Wheaton College
Dr. Cook while studying at Wheaton College, ca. 1934

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Bob worked in a garage fixing cars
Wheaton college days and little money for food

Dr. Cook’s wife-to-be, Coreen Nilsen
Dr. Cook’s wife-to-be, Coreen Nilsen.
Coreen was the sister-in-law of Torrey Johnson, who was the pastor of Messiah Baptist Church. He recruited Bob to direct the choir while he was a student at Moody Bible Institute… the choir in which Coreen sang.

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The young couple in Chicago, IL
The young couple in Chicago, IL

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Coreen Nilsen nearby her home in Chicago, IL
Coreen Nilsen nearby her home in Chicago, IL

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Summer Fun
Summer fun
(Left to right) Coreen Nilsen, Evelyn Johnson (her sister), and Torrey Johnson (Evelyn’s husband).

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Glen Ellyn Tabernacle Sunday School picnic
Glen Ellyn Tabernacle Sunday School picnic, ca. 1933
While studying at Wheaton College, Dr. Cook pastored a congregation at Glen Ellyn Tabernacle in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (1933 – 1934). The new suburban area of Glen Ellyn, Illinois was considered West Chicago in those days.

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Glen Ellyn Tabernacle Church Board Photo
Glen Ellyn Tabernacle Church Board Photo
Left to right: Mr. Partridge; an unknown gentleman; Mr. Benson; and Pastor Robert Cook. Bob lived with the Partridge family during these days. For a short while, he also lived in one of the church’s Sunday School rooms.

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Glen Ellyn Tabernacle church dinner
Glen Ellyn Tabernacle church dinner
This photo was taken while Coreen and Bob were dating. Coreen is seated at the end of the table on the left, Bob is sitting across from her on the right.

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Pastor at Glen Ellyn Tabernacle in Illinois, parishioner telling story about $1 bill

Glen Ellyn Tabernacle group shot
Glen Ellyn Tabernacle group shot
Dr. Cook is in the back row to the left.

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Glen Ellyn Tabernacle photo
Glen Ellyn Tabernacle photo
Dr. Cook is seated in the center.

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Robert and Coreen Cook’s wedding day
Robert and Coreen Cook’s wedding day, September 24, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois.
After graduating from Wheaton College, Dr. Cook Married Coreen Nilsen. The honeymoon consisted of driving Bob’s father, Charley Cook, back to Ohio while staying with relatives en route. They then continued on from Ohio to Dr. Cook’s first pastorate in Philadelphia, PA.

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