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Pleasant Hill

Cecil boarded his last train on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at the age of 90. Cecil was born on December 14, 1930 to Ida Mae (Pratt) and Jasper Ward Cook on the family farm just outside Waukon, Iowa. Growing up he was very involved in the FFA doing several demonstrations at the Iowa State Fair. After graduating from Waukon High as valedictorian he farmed with his older brother Charles until 1954. In 1954 he married the love of his life, Imogene (Jean) Hegwood of Des Moines. Cecil and Jean were blessed with four children that they raised in Des Moines and in 1964 moved their family into the house they planned and had built in Pleasant Hill. They were married for 62 years until Jean passed in 2017.

Over the years Cecil worked for General Mills, the City of Pleasant Hill and Hy-Vee, until his retirement in 1995. He was very involved in his community. He was a past member of the Pleasant Hill Volunteer Fire Dept., former City Councilman, serving some time in 1968 as Mayor pro tem when the Mayor had health issues. He was a past member of the Moose and Elks lodges. At the time of his death, he was an active member of the Pleasant Hill Lions Club, serving on the scholarship selection committee. He also coached Little League Baseball for a number of years.

Cecil was also very active in his church, Staves Memorial United Methodist Church of which he was a member for over 67 years. Over that time, he served as a Lay Leader, President of the Staves Board and an Adult Class Sunday School teacher, a role he still held. He thought it important to be at Church every Sunday, and even with the bad weather made it to services just a few weeks before his passing.

Other than his love of faith, family and community service, his other great love was photographing, writing and researching railroads and mining, particularly those in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Beginning in 1947 when he took his first photograph of a steam locomotive, this love of railroading would be his passion for the rest of his life. He was the published Author of six books on railroad history (was working on book 7 at the time of his death) and his photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines and journals by other Authors. As a recognized Author and Historian on railroad history he was asked to present to numerous historical societies and historical events around Iowa and the Midwest. All family vacations were planned around his obsession with railroading and most years when we were kids involved trips to Colorado, Minnesota, and the UP of Michigan. In 1953 he was a founding member of the Iowa Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. He was also a longtime member of the Milwaukee Road Historical Society, Missabe Railroad Historical Society and the Lake States Railway Historical Association and the Mining Historical Association.

Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Monday, February 22, 2021 at Hamilton’s Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street, Des Moines. Funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 23, 2021, also at Hamilton’s. Services will conclude with a private family burial at Oakwood Cemetery in Pleasant Hill.

Cecil is survived by his daughter, Melody (Red) Aswegan; sons, Archie (Lynn), Mitchell (Dawn), and Kelly; grandchildren, Cecil, Chad, Cory, Ryan, Andrea, Mystie, Kyle, Katie, Waylon, and Taven; great-grandchildren, Carlie, Kaitlin, Taylor, Aydan, Jacelyn, Jaxson, Brady, Sydney, Abigail, Caleb, Logan, Clark, Maxx, Jett, Tinlee, Audrey, Vivian, Neva, Zaylee, and Brynlee; great-great-grandson, Elijah; sister-in-law, Marlene “Mickey” Cook; and many nieces, nephews, other extended family and friends.

Cecil was preceded in death by his loving wife, Jean; parents, Jasper and Ida Cook; brother, Charles Cook; and sister, Ruth (Gale) Hawhee.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Staves Memorial UMC, 2747 East Madison Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317 in loving memory of Cecil.

Condolences may be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.


Service Details

Visitation:
Monday, February 22, 2021
5:00 to 8:00 pm
Public Visitation
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines
Service:
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
11:00 am
Public Funeral Service
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines
Disposition:
Private Family Burial
Oakwood Cemetery
Pleasant Hill
Arrangements:
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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