Thelma Cook, long-time educator and community leader, died on May 16 at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. She was 77 years old and had suffered from cancer.
A native of The Bronx, New York, Cook earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at North Carolina Central University in Durham. She held a master’s degree in educational guidance and counseling from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Cook began her career as assistant dean for student affairs at Oklahoma State University. She then served as director of university relations and development at Lincoln University. Cook then left the academic world to take a public affairs post for Seven-Up. Later, she was vice president for corporate affairs and director of corporate community relations for Anheuser-Busch.
In 2015, Cook was awarded an honorary doctorate from Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, where she had served as chair of the board of regents. She also served on the board of trustees of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina.