Franklin J. Cook, 49, firefighter

March 29, 2006

Franklin J. Cook, a retired Baltimore County Fire Department lieutenant and former Boy Scout leader, died of cancer March 22 at his Pikesville home. He was 49.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Hampden, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas School and was a 1975 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. Family members said that two months into his freshman year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he returned his four-year scholarship because he was unclear about what he wanted to do and believed another student could make better use of it.

On March 1, 1980, he joined the Baltimore County Fire Department and had assignments at Texas, Eastview, Sparrows Point, Brooklandville, Garrison and Pikesville, where he was promoted to lieutenant in 2002.

"He was an excellent leader and was always diplomatic, never autocratic. He never needed to show he was in charge," said Lt. Steve Miller, a friend who also works in Pikesville.

"He helped set up a critical-incident stress management team which helps us deal with emotional crises. We don't act as psychiatrists, we were just a brother to talk to."

After being diagnosed with cancer, Mr. Cook worked in a fire prevention unit at the Towson headquarters and retired last year.

In the 1990s Mr. Cook served as Scoutmaster of Troop 176 at the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church in Hampden, where as a youth he had been a Scout.

In 1994 he accompanied Scouts to Japan as part of the Kawasaki Sister City Exchange Program. While there, he hiked to the top of Mount Fuji.

Mr. Cook enjoyed hiking and camping. While on a trip to Old Rag Mountain in the Virginia Blue Ridge, he met Cathleen Couris, who would become his wife.

He backpacked the 184 miles of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and was a motorcycle enthusiast.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church.

In addition to his wife of 10 years, survivors include his two daughters, 9-year-old Colleen and 7-year-old Elizabeth; his mother, Rita F. Cook; and five brothers, Thomas R. Cook, Michael P. Cook, Andrew P. Cook, Brian M. Cook and Jan M. Cook. All live in Baltimore.

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