John S. Cook


Sunday, August 13th from 1-3 p.m. prior to the service in the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis.


Sunday, August 13th at 3 p.m. in the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis.

Final Resting Place

Downing Cemetery in Downing, MO.


Memorials suggested to the Downing Cemetery, to the Downing Fire Department or to the Scotland County Fire Department.

{July 30, 1933 - August 9, 2023}

John S. Cook, 90 of Memphis, passed away at the Scotland County Hospital Emergency Room on Aug 9th, 2023.

He was born July 30th, 1933 the son of Lottie and Charles H. Cook of Downing, MO. John graduated from Downing High School in the Class of 1951. While in school, John loved horses and opened a saddle shop in a store between McCune’s Grocery and Mable Riley’s café on Prime Street in Downing.

After graduation, he worked several jobs and met the love of his life, Maxine Ketchum. They were married January 1, 1956 in Schuyler County and became the proud parents of twins, Royce & Joyce in August 1957.

In July 1959, John and Maxine purchased the W. O. Slavin General Store on Prime Street in Downing. Here they sold dry goods, groceries, clothing, and shoes and most anything you needed. In April 1965 they opened a second store, Cook’s Mens Store at 130 S Market Street in Memphis, MO. On Sundays during the summer months, he would load a Chevy Suburban in western wear and head to local horse shows and rodeos. In 1972, Cook’s Mens Store expanded to a larger location at 116 S. Market Street, where the store remains open today.

John served as Mayor of the City of Downing, Fire Chief, Planning Progress Chairman, as a member of the Downing Saddle Club and a substitute mail carrier. It was during these years, approximately 1961, that Downing merchants included John, H. Middleton, Vernon Lee Jackson, Bob Poe, Tom Potter, IG Ruth, Mable Riley, Salty & Opal Anderson, and others decided to have customer appreciation days. John devised the name “Downing Appreciation Days,” which is still being used today.

John was the founding president of the Scotland County Rotary Club in 1979. He was very active in Rotary and made several trips to Jefferson City to the State Capital with high school students. In 2009 he received a 30-year perfect attendance award. On March 19, 2019, John, and Dr. Harlo Donelson, were recognized for 40 years of membership as Founding Members.

John completed his Motorcycle ‘Tour de Capitals’ in 2005. He traveled two years on motorcycle to visit 49 United States state capitals. He blamed his love of riding on the fact that he started so late in life, purchasing his first bike at the age of 40. He traveled over 500,000 miles via motorcycle.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles H. and Lottie Cook, a daughter in infancy, Sharon Rae, brother Charles Robert, and sister-in-law Nancy Cook, father-in-law Harold Ketchum, mother-in-law Lucille Ketchum, and sister-in-law Darlene Drake.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Maxine; two children Joyce Cook and Royce (Carla) Cook; five grandchildren Lyndsay Hinkebein of Columbia, Jennifer (Trent) Lewis of Kirksville, Brenna (Shane) Poe of Downing, Kaela (Michael) Garnett of Memphis; Cullen “CJ” (Lexi) Burnsmore of Kirksville; Ten great-grandchildren Haleigh & Taelor Lewis; Madisyn & Natalie Hinkebein; Triston, Trayce & Maysa Poe; Liam Burnsmore and Raegan and Waylon Garnett. Also, nephews Chas M. “Corky” (Sonia) Cook of Downing, Robb (Dana) Cook of Merriman, NE, and Henry (Julie) Cook of Paris, MO.

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  1. Will miss John always enjoyed him. RIP John!!

    Comment by Ronald E Kirkpatrick on August 10, 2023 at 4:08 pm
  2. Our sympathy to Maxine and family in the passing of John. He will be missed by all.

    Tom and Ann Waters

    Comment by Thomas W Waters on August 11, 2023 at 7:27 am
  3. Our condolences to the Cook family with John’s passing . Prayers for healing and comfort during this time.

    Comment by Marla Orton on August 11, 2023 at 6:17 pm
  4. Our deepest sympathy for Maxine and family John was a great person and will be missed.

    Comment by Matt and Carol Shoemaker on August 11, 2023 at 8:21 pm
  5. I will always treasure the memories of my Larry and John talking motorcycles while John was selling him a pair of cowboy boots. We came to Memphis from Marshalltown, Iowa to buy from John and Maxine.
    . Karen Streed

    Comment by Karen Streed on August 11, 2023 at 8:23 pm
  6. John went above and beyond for his customers. When my dad died,someone (could have been Scott) drove to Canton to get him something appropriate. I never forgot that. He and Maxine were legends.

    Comment by Sherry King on August 11, 2023 at 10:39 pm
  7. Condolences to the family during this difficult time.

    Comment by James L Woods on August 12, 2023 at 7:44 am
  8. John was a great neighbor and friend. He always made a point of saying, “Hello Neighbor” to our family. Both John and Maxine are great community supporters – always supporting school and community projects and activities. John will be greatly missed and was truly a local legend.

    Comment by Rhonda and Jim McBee on August 12, 2023 at 9:36 am
  9. I am so sorry for the family loss, what great man heaven has. Ride your bike John will miss you stories of past rode trips on your bikes.
    Steve and Susie King

    Comment by Susie King on August 12, 2023 at 10:37 am
  10. So sorry 4 your loss. R.I.P John

    Comment by Vicki Kelso Dodson and family on August 12, 2023 at 11:47 am
  11. We are very sorry to hear of John’s passing. My husband’s family has been shopping at Cook’s for generations. He will be greatly missed.

    Comment by Julie, John, and Vivian Reardon on August 12, 2023 at 11:50 am
  12. John was such a nice person and I remember how he and Maxine were such good friends of my parents. The store is legendary. I remember waiting on so many tables on a Saturday night of people coming to shop at Cooks and then eat out. I couldn’t count the number of Levis I bought there in high school! Prayers and sincere condolences to the family.

    Comment by Teresa Keith on August 12, 2023 at 6:00 pm
  13. Reflect on so many happy memories and sad times will eventually fade away. There is a cousin reunion in heaven; those boys who grew up together are now reunited.

    Comment by Treva Poe on August 12, 2023 at 6:24 pm
  14. Thoughts and prayers for the Cook families during this difficult time… John was surely an icon in the Memphis community and will be missed so very much!

    Comment by Cindy and Gerald Steen on August 12, 2023 at 7:10 pm
  15. May you ride all the highways in heaven.

    Comment by grubb lisa on August 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm
  16. My condolences to the family as they maneuver through this difficult time.
    John was a compassionate man. He was a friend to all. He will be greatly missed. RIP John.

    Comment by Debbie Goff on August 13, 2023 at 1:43 pm
  17. We were sorry to hear of John’s passing. Rich looked forward to talking with him when shopping. Cook’s isn’t the same without your smile & John’s conversations. You are in our thoughts & prayers.

    Richard & Joella Billups

    Comment by Richard & Joella Billups on August 13, 2023 at 6:00 pm
  18. I am his niece,Brenda. I am deeply saddened I cannot hear his voice again, but the memories in me will be happy times. From the playing in the Downing store, the horse shows selling cowboy boots and hats to the first store in Memphis to the current one. He was so committed to family and community. So many accomplishments! Love and Aloha to my terrific Uncle John and blessings to Aunt Maxine.

    Comment by Brenda (Drake) Matsumura on August 16, 2023 at 9:56 am

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