Peter C. Cook, faithful friend of liberty and exemplar of civil society, passed away Sunday evening at 96 years old in his hometown of Grand Rapids. Mr. Cook, as I knew him, served on the Mackinac Center’s board of directors from 1992 to 2003. He was a businessman whose philanthropy benefited thousands. Mr. Cook had supported the Mackinac Center since 1990, especially projects related to education reform including school choice.

The Grand Rapids Press marked his accomplishments and generosity with a story in yesterday’s edition and an editorial today. They describe the kind of man any community is blessed to have once in a century. He was particularly known for supporting health, educational and Christian charities. He belonged to Grace Reformed Church. About his giving habits he told The Press in 1995, “My wife and I enjoy giving it away.”

My friend Lawrence Reed, now president emeritus of the Mackinac Center, knew Mr. Cook better and longer than I did. After Mr. Cook’s death Larry wrote to me, “Peter was the perfect gentleman, a generous friend, the nicest guy you could ever hope to meet. When it comes to model citizens, he was the gold standard.”

We extend our sympathy to the Cook family and thank God for Mr. Cook’s service, example and generosity.