Father Michael Lavelle Cook, SJ, professor emeritus of theology at Gonzaga University, died December 17, 2020, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, after testing positive for Covid-19. He was 84 years old.
Fr. Cook was born February 26, 1936, in Wolf Point, Montana, the son of James F. Cook and Mary Richards Cook. The family relocated to Seattle, where he attended local grammar schools and Seattle Preparatory School. After graduation in 1953, Fr. Cook entered the Jesuit novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon, to begin studies for the priesthood.
After earning degrees at Gonzaga University (BA, classics; MA, philosophy), he taught Latin and Greek at Jesuit High School in Portland (1960-1963). Theological studies were made at Alma College on the campus of Santa Clara University (1963-1967). He was ordained a priest in Spokane on June 11, 1966.
Fr. Cook pursued further studies in Rome, both at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Gregorian University. He earned a doctorate in systematic theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, in 1974. His teaching was done primarily at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley (1971-1982) and at Gonzaga University (1982-2012; emeritus, 2012-2016). He also served as visiting professor at the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago and Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya. Notable among his publications are Trinitarian Christology (2010), Christology as Narrative Quest (1997) and The Jesus of Faith (1981), as well as many scholarly articles.
Fr. Cook is survived by nieces Kathy Taylor of Seattle and Mary Beth Cook of Wellington, New Zealand, and nephews Michel Cook and Stephen Cook of Seattle.
Funeral Masses at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center are currently not open to the public because of Covid-19 restrictions. Inurnment will be in the Mount St. Michael’s Cemetery in Spokane. To view Fr. Cook’s livestreamed funeral Mass, click here.