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James Alan Cook


James Alan Cook of Grand Rapids, MI, age 73, passed away on July 3, 2022. Jim was born in Allegan, MI on December 7, 1948, the fifth of eight children to Lee and Nettie Cook. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Rosine Latchaw, Colleen Cook, and Jody Waynick, and in-laws Ammon and Cora Schreur. He is survived by his wife of nearly 52 years, Debbie, children Betsey (Ed) Dempsey and Tom (Jessikah) Cook, grandchildren James and Caroline Dempsey and Alden and Boden Cook, brother Gary (Shirley) Cook, sisters Jane (Wayne Blank) Shagonaby, Kathy (George) Harlan, and Wendy (Stu) Mead, and brothers-in-law Jeff (Susie) Schreur and Dave (Sally) Schreur.

Jim graduated from Allegan High School in 1966, excelling in the classroom and on the athletic fields, lettering in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He earned civil engineering degrees from Albion College, where he also played football and baseball, and the University of Michigan. He was employed as a civil engineer at Pickitt & Schreur from 1971-1977 and began working at Prein & Newhof in 1977. He served as President of Prein & Newhof from 2008-2012 and as Board Chairman from 2013 until his retirement at the end of 2015.

Jim was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Thousand Oaks Golf Club, Mayflower Congregational Church and Solivita (Florida) softball league.  He enjoyed coaching his children in sports during their childhoods and later spending the winters in Florida in his retirement. His favorite activities, however, involved spending time with his grandchildren, of whom he was incredibly proud. He attended every sporting event and recital and treasured his time with them sharing his hobbies of fishing, playing guitar, golfing, and baking pies.

The family will receive visitors at Gerst Funeral Home (3890 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids) on Friday, July 8, 2022, from 5-7pm. Family will greet visitors at 10am with a memorial service at Mayflower Congregational Church (2345 Robinson Road SE, Grand Rapids) on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 11am, inurnment at the Mayflower Prayer Garden columbarium.

Memorial contributions may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice and Palliative Care ( or the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation (

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6 Responses

  1. Jim was an officer at Prein&Newhof when I started my employment there in 1997.
    We didn’t work together a lot but when we did he was always pleasant to work with and poured his knowledge into all of us young engineers. He was kind, could also be tough but he was always fair.

    Jim led Prein&Newhof through many changes (technology, recession, etc.) over the years and he led it well. He was a man of integrity. I’m grateful to have worked with him and learned from him.

    When my family and I relocated out of state in 2005 and I thought I needed to leave P&N and find a new job, he approached me and asked if I wanted to keep working for P&N from a “remote” office. We figured out how to make it work and I’m glad he asked.

    Sending prayers to the entire family – May Jim’s memory be a blessing to you all.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing, and pray that God will provide your family with strength and peace during this difficult time. I enjoyed working with Jim at P&N, and have many fond memories of him.

  3. Jim was my mentor for over 20 years. I am forever grateful for his guidance in my career and more importantly in my personal life. He not only provided great advice; he led by example. I see his influence in the culture at P&N and in my life outside of work everyday.

    I always loved running into Jim at various sporting events where he supported his grandkids during his retirement. He will be missed.

  4. Jim was always a pleasure to work with. He wanted to do the best job possible for his clients and would work to have the project completed for the least expense to them. In my 36 years of working together I don’t ever remember him losing his temper when we disagreed on how to accomplish what had to be completed. He just had a way of getting things done. He wil be missed.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  5. Aunt Deb, Betsey & Tom,

    We’re so sorry to hear of Uncle Jim’s passing. Please know that you’re in our thoughts.

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