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Stamford's John Cook IV, Pilot And Member Of USA Triathlon Team, Dies At 81

John C. Cook IV
John C. Cook IV Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- John Cartwright Cook IV, a pilot and triathlete, died Tuesday, April 25 at Stamford Hospital at the age of 81. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in December and fought the disease the way he lived — competitively and with every cell in his body.

Born in New York City on July 23, 1935, he grew up in Bronxville, N.Y., and attended Roosevelt High School. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

He fulfilled his dream of flying, and was an airline pilot for more than four decades. As a lieutenant and aviator in the U.S. Navy, he was designated Patrol Plane Commander in the P2V model aircraft. He subsequently flew for Pan Am for 25 years and Delta Airlines until his retirement in 1998.

Cook put his whole self into everything he did: skiing, tennis, running, speed skating, photography, astronomy, and competitive sailing, including the Newport to Bermuda race in 1982.

Triathlons were his greatest passion and obsession for over 20 years. He competed in races all over the world and was a member of the USA Triathlon Team. In 2011, he won the World Championship in Beijing.

Related story: Stamford triathlete rolls toward Greenwich, China

In 2015, he received the USA Triathlon All American Award. He completed nine Ironman races, including seven in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He completed his most recent triathlon this past September in Malibu at the age of 81, just before his diagnosis with glioblastoma.

He has donated his brain to science through Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in order to help further the understanding of this devastating disease.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer "Kiki" Cook; children Karin Cook, Jennifer Polk, Courtney Flynn, John "Hatch" Cook, and William Cook; and his grandchildren Lucian, Georgia, June, Asher, Billy, Jameson, and Kayla; and his sister Sara Meehan.

He was predeceased by his first wife Joan Barrett Cook and his brother E. Thomas Cook.

There will be a service on Saturday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church at 628 Main St. in Stamford. In lieu of flowers, consider donating to one of the following charities close to his heart: Save the Children, Kids in Crisis, Palliative Care Center of New York and Connecticut and St. John's Episcopal Church.

Arrangements are under the direction of Thomas M Gallagher Funeral Home in Stamford.

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