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Ray Cook

Ray Cook

1950 - 2023

Ray Louis Cook, 72, of Presque Isle (formerly of Ypsilanti) passed away peacefully on August 19, 2023 at MyMichigan Health in Alpena with his loving family at his side after a lengthy illness.

Born November 21, 1950 to Sidney Austin and Dorothy Dena (Rinard) Cook in Ypsilanti.

Ray attended Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor before continuing his education to become the youngest (at the time) to earn his Journeyman’s and master’s Plumbing licenses initiating into Local 190 Union of Plumbers and Pipefitters at 19 years old. He had been a plumber his whole life, starting in his father’s shop at 5 years old and continuing his education in Texas and Florida while raising his family.

He married the love of his life, Laurel Anne, on January 31, 1981 on their building site in Manchester. His

proudest accomplishment was the family they created. Together, they had two beautiful daughters and

granddaughters. Ray will be remembered for his devotion to his family, his incredible work ethic, and his sense of humor. He lived his life for his family managing to attend every event at his daughters’ schools, helping with spelling words, and teaching his daughters to drive while operating a successful business working in the field during the day and in the office before the family woke up and after they went to bed.

He loved to build and built all his family’s homes. He always included his family in the process, taking

opportunities to teach his daughters new skills and giving his wife complete design ownership. He had a brilliant mechanical mind and he enjoyed woodworking, fishing and golf. His granddaughters will cherish the gorgeous dollhouse he built by hand for them, and share his love for flowers, gardening and watching wildlife. He loved making breakfast for his family, who desperately miss his signature pancakes, and grilling dinner and he built quite the collection of kitchen gadgets. He loved learning about history and space exploration, always joking that they must need a plumber in space and watching football.

Ray owned and operated several successful businesses, mentoring many young plumbers along the way. He and Laurel moved to Northern Michigan to retire on the property they created together on Lake Huron, but he was brought out of retirement to help an underserved community, making many friends in the process.  When he wasn’t working, you could find him with a cup of coffee outside enjoying the lake life.

Ray is survived by his devoted wife of 42 years, daughters Melissa (John) Knowles and Megan (Mike) Wehmeier; granddaughters Emma Margaret Anne and Allison Rae Maryanne Wehmeier; sister, Jacquelyn Brown; brothers, Sidney K. (Kay) Cook and Clayton Cook; brothers-in-law. Shawn Scanlon and Martin (Laurence) Scanlon and a large extended family. Also missing Ray is Sadie, his faithful furry friend.

Ray was preceded in death by his two sons, Michael Ray and Troy Austin; brother-in-law Billy Brown; sister-in- law, Elaine Cook, and two nephews, Billy Brown and Craig Cook.

The family will have a private celebration of life, honoring Ray’s wishes.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to any Veteran’s organization or the Huron Humane Society of Alpena.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Beck Funeral Home in Rogers City.

Online condolences at

The family would like to thank the healthcare teams at MyMichigan Health in Alpena and The Alpena Cancer Center who took such excellent, compassionate care of Ray.

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Ray Cook – Beck Funeral Home – Rogers City, MI