The Reverend James Woodrow Cook

The Reverend James Woodrow Cook


Let us remember with thanksgiving the life and ministry of Rev. James Woodrow Cook, 94 who passed away on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at EC Campus of United Methodist Homes, Binghamton, NY.

Jim was born March 10, 1929, to William Lee and Ila Jackson Cook in Bluefield, West Virginia and grew up in Dublin, Virginia.  He graduated from Dublin High School in 1947, and served four years in the US Navy from 1948 -1952, as an Aviation Metalsmith 3rd Class, in San Diego, CA and Atsugi, Japan during the Korean conflict.

After leaving the service, he was called to the ministry and entered Emory and Henry College, Emory, VA, where he graduated with a BA Degree in Religious Education, during which time he served two small country churches in Bridle Creek, VA, in the Holston Conference.  He then moved to New York, and entered Drew Theological Seminary, in Madison, NJ, where he graduated with his Master of Divinity Degree while serving a four church charge in the Prattsville/Lexington/Westkill/Spruceton area of the Hudson North District of the New York Conference,

In 1959 Jim was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church.  He moved to Woodstock, NY, where he served the Woodstock UMC Charge of three churches, Woodstock, Wittenberg, and Shady.  During his 10-year tenure in Woodstock, he was responsible for uniting Woodstock and Wittenberg, and building the new Overlook UMC. In addition Jim served the following churches in the New York Conference: Yorktown Heights UMC, Pawling and Poughquag UMC’s, Hyde Park UMC, and St. James UMC in Kingston, where he had been ordained in 1959. Jim and Elsie retired to Cape Cod in 1992.

In 1993 he served as interim pastor of the Nantucket UMC in Massachusetts.  He was a team lecturer for the Norman Vincent Peale Foundation for Christian Living Thanksgiving Reunion in Mexico City in 1982, and in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1983. After moving to South Carolina in 1995, he established a Chaplaincy Program and served as Chaplain for the Horry County Police Department in Conway, SC. After moving to Sun City in Bluffton, SC,  he served two small United Methodist Churches, Swallow Savanah and Gillette’s,  in Allendale County as interim pastor. 

Jim and Elsie spent eleven years in Edgewater, Florida and in 2015 they moved back to South Carolina to The Methodist Oaks Retirement Center in Orangeburg, SC and in March 2020 returned to New York and resided at the United Methodist Homes of Binghamton until his death.

He was an avid reader, devoted fly fisherman, and in his leisure time enjoyed golf and oil painting.

Jim is survived by his wife Elsie B. Gray (Secor) Cook whom he married April 17, 1983;  daughter, Kathryn Marie Spiegel; stepson John E Secor (Susan), Shokan, NY. He was predeceased by one son, Trinkle Lee Cook. Other survivors include: niece, Patricia Umhey, (Kevin) Shokan, New York; nephew, Wayne Gilbert, (Janet) Port Ewen, New York; cousins, Joan Deck (James), and Carol Scott (Edwin), both of Florida and several grandchildren.

Jim Cook was ordained at Kingston: St James UMC by Bishop Wicke in 1959.  He served there from 1989 until his 1992 retirement. His family felt it would be a fitting memorial for his final service to be at “his” home church. 

A service of death and resurrection will be held at 11:00am on Monday, May 1, 2023 at St. James United Methodist Church, 29 Pearl Street, Kingston, NY 12401. Rev. Robert Milsom and Rev. David Jolly will officiate. Visitation will take place in the church sanctuary form 10 to 11:00am prior to the service. Burial at the Woodstock Cemetery will be private at the convenience of the family.
Jim had requested that any memorial donations be sent to St. James UMC, 35 Pearl Street, Kingston, NY 12401, designated to be used for organ maintenance.
Blessings and prayers to the Cook family at this time of loss.