Indiana was saddened this weekend by the death of Bill Cook, the Bloomington entrepreneur who founded a medical device company from a bedroom in 1963 and went on to become Indiana’s wealthiest man. The Indianapolis Business Journal wrote a very nice piece about Mr. Cook that you can read here.
It is not Mr. Cook’s position as one of Indiana’s wealthiest that prompts our state’s mourning this weekend, but instead the character of the man, who by all accounts was down-to-earth, hard-working, and full of integrity.
I am a preservationist and it is through that interest that I first became aware of Mr. Cook, back when he was helping to fund the restoration of the awe-inspiring West Baden Springs Hotel in Orange County, Indiana. His family’s most recent preservation endeavor was the restoration of the 1891 Central Avenue Methodist Church in Indianapolis as the new home of Indiana Landmarks, Indiana’s state-wide historic preservation non-profit organization.
Today I had the pleasure of attending the Open House for the new Indiana Landmarks Center during its “Wondrous Opening Weekend.” Driving towards the former church, I became choked-up seeing the crowds of people filling the street to take part in this event. There is something very special about seeing people affected by historic preservation and what it means to a community. Today I was very proud.
Well done, Mr. Cook. You will be sorely missed, but your legacy shall live on and bring joy to many.