William Loyd Cook, 53, a former editor, reporter, sports writer and information technologies manager for the Corsicana Daily Sun, died Saturday in his apartment home in Kaufman.
Cook had spent the last three years working as a reporter for the Kaufman Herald. Before working for the Corsicana paper, he was a reporter and editor for the Kerens Tribune.
It was while working for the Kerens paper that he realized his calling, according to his sister Lori Hobbs.
“He really liked to write. When he started working for the Kerens Tribune that was what he liked to do,” she said.
Cook’s funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Paschal Funeral Home in Kerens. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday evening.
“Loyd was definitely an original,” said Daily Sun Publisher Raymond Linex II, who worked side-by-side with Cook in the Corsicana newsroom for a number of years.
“He loved to dig down deep into a story. Loved numbers, like unemployment and tax pieces that might wear down any other reporter,” Linex added. “At one time, he also was writing three columns a week. In a sense, he was this really quirky guy with a colossal vocabulary, and he loved expressing both. ...
“When I heard of his passing, the same numbness came over me that I felt when he walked in during a vacation back in 2006,” Linex said. “I said, ’What are you doing here?’ He was kind of drained of emotion, but managed to say, ’Joanne passed away last night.’”
Cook’s wife Joanne died unexpectedly overnight at 47 years old in early 2006.
“It was like losing a member of the family then,” Linex continued, “but (Saturday), it was like losing a brother. We had some good times, and waded through the bad. We had great work memories, but more special moments away from the office.
“He would do anything to help you, and he could be the life of a party, the comedian. His office nickname was ’LoCo,’ the first two letters of his first and last names, but also an apt description of how much fun he was to be around.”
Cook was born to Bill and Sammye Cook in Corsicana. His family lived in Kerens, but his parents moved him and his younger twin sisters, Lori and Lisa, to Terrell when Loyd was about 4. He grew up there, graduating from Terrell High School in 1978.
Cook always knew how to find a good time, and after finishing high school he had a great time in college for one semester before returning home. After that, he took a series of jobs, including clerking at convenience store, a liquor store and working as a telephone operator for Southwestern Bell, where he was notorious for flirting with the older women who also worked as operators. He laid fiber optic line for AT&T, and as a line supervisor for the Proctor and Gamble factory in Corsicana.
“It was all either technical or intellectual-type stuff,” Hobbs said. “His brain worked really well.”
People who worked with him recalled him as a one-of-a-kind writer and story-teller, who was always curious about people and how they worked.
“Loyd hired me as photo editor when I was only 20 years old,” stated Scott Honea, former Daily Sun photographer. “I’ll always be indebted to him for taking a chance on me, and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Loyd was a great writer, a ferocious smoker, a classic rock enthusiast, a pretty bad poker player, but above all, he was a good boss and an even better friend.”
Cook was a wild man with a big heart, according to former Sun Sports Editor Jake Shaw.
“Loyd was a one of a kind. I don’t think he’d be upset with me if I called him a bit bizarre. He’d probably agree. But one trait I did notice about ’LoCo’ was his big heart,” Shaw said. “When I was only a couple of months on the job, I wrote a column — about what I don’t remember — and completely butchered a common phrase in the story. Loyd pointed out my mistake to me the day the column ran.
“But rather than giving me a hard time about it — he could tell I was embarrassed and discouraged — he told me a few stories of times he had screwed up something in print. He did his best to empathize and assure me that mistakes happened to everyone.
“I’ll probably most remember the constant jokes and the give-and-take between Loyd and the rest of the news staff. But this anecdote also reminds me that Loyd was a good friend,” Shaw said.
Jayson Larson, editor of the Athens Review, and former Daily Sun sports writer, recalled Cook as personable but with a style of his own.
“Loyd is one of the most original guys I’ve ever met,” Larson said. “At first glance, he was this disheveled, ex-hippie who punctuated most of his sentences with ’man’ — even when he was talking to the police chief or the mayor. As a younger reporter, I’d never considered just being myself with sources the way I saw Loyd doing it. He knew his job and was great at it, and he had an ability to develop sources like only a handful of people I’ve ever met in the business. He was blunt, but the kind of blunt we all really want to be deep down.
“He was real in a way most of us have forgotten how to be. You knew when he was happy, and you knew when he was grieving. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and I loved that about him. I always felt like he was one of the smartest guys in the room.”
Former Daily Sun publisher Gary Connor praised Cook’s thoroughness.
“I had a great deal of respect for Loyd’s journalistic integrity and ability. He was happiest when covering or writing a story,” Connor said. “I met Loyd one hot August afternoon many years ago while covering a football scrimmage between Kerens and Mildred. I saw someone on the Kerens sideline wearing a John Deere cap, striped overalls, Ked’s tennis shoes and a pen and clipboard and wondered what he was doing. Of course, it was Loyd covering the scrimmage for the Kerens Tribune.”
Joel Weckerly, former Daily Sun sports editor, also recalled Cook’s generosity of spirit.
“I remember getting frustrated that he ate an entire box of those Caramel Delight Girl Scout cookies that I had laid out in the break room for everyone to enjoy. I may have given him a hard time about it or vented to someone else,” Weckerly said. “At any rate, Loyd didn’t want to be the object of discord in the office, and being the kind-hearted guy he was, he came in the next day with two boxes of Girl Scout cookies for everyone. I remember feeling guilty that I had gotten angry with him and admired his gesture.”
Cook was married twice. He is survived by his daughter, Carla Unberhagen and her husband, Clay; two step-sons, Billy Spears and Bobby Boucher; sister, Lori Hobbs and her husband, Johnny. He had five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Joanne, and sister, Lisa Cook Goss.
Cook experienced heart surgeries, a massive motorcycle wreck, and other health problems but always remained optimistic and entertaining.