HRC Blog

The LGBT Community Has Lost a True Friend: Remembering Dr. John Cook

Post submitted by Adam Swaim, HRC Director of Estate Planning.

Sometimes you have the amazing opportunity to encounter people who truly impact the lives of countless others through their generosity and kindness – Dr. John Cook, who died in late December, and his partner of more than 50 years, Dr. Waverly Cole, who died in 2009, were two of those people. 

John and Waverly were tremendous supporters of HRC since the early days of the organization.  John and Waverly attended nearly every HRC National Dinner and John was particularly moved when President Obama spoke at the 2011 National Dinner shortly after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” John and Waverly first met while serving their country in WW II.  Over their 50 years as a couple, they witnessed many historic moments for the LGBT community — from Stonewall to the movement for marriage equality. 

John and Waverly always believed strongly in the importance of personal philanthropy, giving over the years to HRC to advance the movement for LGBT equality.  Their commitment to making a difference was intentional. It started with a conversation John and Waverly had early on in their relationship. Waverly came home from work one night and said “John, mix us a martini.  I want to talk with you about planning our life.” John replied, “Oh, you don’t have to plan our life; it will just unfold.” “Oh, no,” Waverly replied, “we must plan it so it will be successful and meaningful.  Let’s make a difference.” And what a difference John and Waverly made. 

HRC is honored to be a part of John and Waverly’s legacy. We honor and pay tribute to them and to the generosity of dedicated friends like you, who have helped HRC to continue the mission of ensuring that our shared dream of fair and equal rights for all LGBT people and their families will come true.

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