John Patrick Cook, a consultant in health care sales who was active in Baltimore County recreation league soccer coaching, died Friday at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Towson resident was 44.
Family members said Mr. Cook died of undetermined causes.
Born in Racine, Wis., he was the son of Gene Paul Cook Jr., who worked in sales, and Colleen Majorano Cook, a homemaker. When he was 10, he moved with his family to Doylestown, Pa. He attended Kutz Elementary School and Holicong Junior High.
He was a 1987 graduate of Central Bucks East High School, where he played varsity basketball and soccer and was the teams' captain. He was also a member of a Pennsylvania statewide soccer team while in junior high and high school.
He earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Syracuse University, where he had an athletic scholarship and played Division I soccer.
He joined the Wyndham hotels and became director of food and beverage at hotels in New Jersey. In 1999, he changed careers and entered the health care field.
He worked in sales at the Maryland Hospital Association in Elkridge until 2010.
"He was a natural people person. He had a sense of curiosity that encouraged conversation. He was genuinely interested in other people. He was also charming in a disarming way," said Nell Buhlman, a colleague who lives in Towson. "Professionally, he was able to understand the complex challenges that hospitals were facing and in helping them resolve those issues. He earned the respect of hospital executives."
When his division was acquired by Press Ganey, a firm that works with health care organizations to improve patients' experience of care, he remained with the new company and was named a regional director. He covered the Carolinas region.
"He had a competitive spirit and perseverance," said Erin Wilkins, a colleague who lives in Nashville, Tenn. "He also had a great personal charm that made him successful with clients. I called him an eternal optimist. He was a consistent top performer. He was very successful."
After living in Bethesda, he moved to Towson in 2007.
"John was a very good athlete, affable, outgoing and friendly," said a family friend, Michael Niccolini, who lives in Roland Park. "He was always available to coach basketball and soccer for his children. He was a good friend to all who knew him."
Mr. Cook became a Towsontowne Recreation and Parks Council soccer coach. He was also involved with sports in Lutherville.
"John loved life and always looked on the bright side. He was optimistic and laid back," said his sister-in-law, Tracy Hubbell of New York, N.Y. "He was a great father who joined right in with his children and their sports. He was an amazing athlete."
Family members said he spent his summers at Bay Head, N.J., and often sailed on Barnegat Bay. He was a member of the Bay Head Yacht Club. He powerboated and sailed.
Mr. Cook retained his interest in food and restaurants. He prepared Italian dishes that he learned from his years working in restaurants in high school and college. He often made grilled veal chops and twice-baked potatoes and osso buco and risotto.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1401 Carrollton Ave. in Ruxton, where he was a member.
Survivors include his wife of 16 years, the former Heather Hubbell; two sons, John Hubbell "Jack" Cook and Henry Kastner Cook; a daughter, Madeleine Martin Cook, all of Towson; his mother, Colleen M. Cook of Doylestown, Pa.; and a sister, Shannon Marr of Middle Island, N.Y.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun