Golf Resort Developer And Medical Device Mogul Bill Cook Passes Away

Bloomington, Indiana - Golf resort developer and medical device mogul William Alfred Cook, 80, blazed his way through life and medicine with a glint in his eye, and an abiding faith that personal and corporate philanthropy could change lives, communities and the world.

From a back bedroom in a Bloomington, IN, apartment, Cook and his wife, Gayle, grew a mom-and-pop company that pioneered vascular medicine into a global giant that today employs 10,000 worldwide.


Cook died April 15 in Bloomington peacefully at his home. He is survived by his wife, Gayle, and his son, Carl.


Bloomington, Indiana - Golf resort developer and medical device mogul William Alfred Cook, 80, blazed his way through life and medicine with a glint in his eye, and an abiding faith that personal and corporate philanthropy could change lives, communities and the world.

From a back bedroom in a Bloomington, IN, apartment, Cook and his wife, Gayle, grew a mom-and-pop company that pioneered vascular medicine into a global giant that today employs 10,000 worldwide.


Cook died April 15 in Bloomington peacefully at his home. He is survived by his wife, Gayle, and his son, Carl.


Founded as Cook Inc., company innovations in the field of minimally invasive medical devices pushed the boundaries and horizons of what was possible for healthcare in America and across the globe. The first company to produce a coronary stent, Cook Inc. advances triggered a cascade of innovation by spurring competitors to aggressively research and develop life-saving medical strategies that eventually brought the demise of painful and risky exploratory surgeries as a viable medical approach.


Cook used profits from the medical device company that bore his name to make life better for millions of people. His accomplishments were not limited to healthcare but spanned a broad spectrum of disciplines and sectors.

In addition to the medical advances, he and Gayle became revered leaders of the American historical restoration movement.

An offshoot company, CFC Properties Inc., developed real estate and renovated dozens of historic but dilapidated buildings, including churches, in his adopted hometown of Bloomington and throughout the state of Indiana. This was never more evident than the impact he had on the small southern Indiana town of French Lick.


His crowning restoration achievement was the renovation of the French Lick Resort at an estimated cost of $500 million. The town has now quickly become one of the great golf destinations in the country.


The restoration and casino development project was set among 3,000 acres of scenic grounds near the Hoosier National Forest. It encompassed both the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel, located about a mile apart, which were both fully restored to their original sophistication and luxury. The casino was built adjacent to the French Lick hotel and opened in 2006. The West Baden Springs property, with its massive dome, re-opened as a hotel in 2007 for the first time since 1932. The hotels combine for 689 rooms.


The centerpiece of the resort is three championship golf courses. In June 2009 the 18-hole Pete Dye Course at French Lick opened as one of the most spectacular and premier championship courses in the nation. Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine both selected the course as the best new course in the country when it opened.


Renovations and restorations also restored vitality to the resort's historic hilltop course, designed by Donald Ross. Constructed in 1917 by world-renowned architect Ross, this legendary golf course has been home to many regional and national tournaments, including the 1924 PGA Championship.


This reclamation of French Lick Resort continues to have an enormous economic impact on the small town of French Lick. Cook's generosity and vision provides jobs for nearly 1,700 of the counties 3,000 residents.


"Bill Cook's life was an inspiration and those who knew him will miss him dearly," said Steve Ferguson, a longtime friend and chairman of the board of Cook Group, Inc. "Few men have ever touched as many lives, saved as many lives, as Bill Cook and the company he created."

 

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