His Life

A tireless laborer for the kingdom of Christ, the Reverend Eugene Cooks was the faithful, dedicated pastor of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Lanett, AL, for 38 years. He was a member of the Evergreen Baptist Church in Valley. While Ebenezer was Pastor Cooks’ home base, he answered whenever he was called upon to render his service to the entire Valley area. Reverend Cooks could be found comforting the bereaved, counseling the wayward, or encouraging the discouraged.


Reverend Eugene Cooks was born to the late Mr. Eugene Cooks, Sr., and Mrs. Essie Pearl Cooks in Union Springs, Alabama. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior at a very early age and united with the First Missionary Baptist Church in Union Springs, Alabama. His Christian upbringing greatly impacted his pursuit of academic excellence as well as his drive to make the world a better place in which to live for all mankind. He was a true humanitarian.


He received his early education in the Bullock County Public School System, graduating with honors. Reverend Cooks was a well-educated minister of the Word of God. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree and his Master of Education Degree from Alabama State University in Montgomery. His theological training was acquired at the International Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Luther Rice Seminarywhere he was working on a Master of Divinity Degree with only twoclasses tocomplete. As he studied and grew both spiritually and intellectually, Rev. Cooks became a profound lecturer, teacher, and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Although he was born in Union Springs, Alabama, Reverend Cooks made Lanett his home when he came to work at Rehobeth High School as the band director. When Rehobeth High School and Valley High School were integrated, Reverend Cooks was relocated as the band director of Valley Junior High School. Later, he transferred to LaFayette High School, where he first served as the band director and then the school counselor. He retired from LaFayette High School after many years of teaching, leading, and guiding.


Reverend Eugene Cooks was united in holy matrimony to the late Mrs. Mahaley Zachery-Cooks, and God blessed this union with one loving son, Leonardo DeShon Cooks. He was also instrumental in rearing one niece, Phyllis and three nephews, Terry, Larry, and Gregory. He loved his family with all his heart. With all that Reverend Cooks has done, his accomplishments pale in comparison to his three most precious roles in life, husband, father, and grandfather. He was a loyal husband to the late Mahaley Zachery-Cooks. He is the proud and dedicated father to Leonardo DeShon Cooks and Angela Michelle Carter Cooks. However, no role fulfilled him more than being the grandfather to Zachery DeShon Cooks and Kennedy Michelle Cooks.


Young people, old people, women, and men have all been touched by the inspiration of Reverend Cooks. In his local community, he has served as past Vice President of the Chambers County Branch of the

SCLC, past President of the Valley Chapter of Alabama State University Alumni Association, Board member of the Valley United Fund, past Board member of the Lanett City Schools, Board member of the Chattahoochee Valley Hospice, Inc., and past Board member of the Greater Valley Area Habitat for Humanity.


Among the many leadership positions held by Reverend Cooks in the Baptist Church organization are past President of the Valley Baptist Minister's Conference, past Secretary of the Bowen East District Association, past Dean of the Bowen East District Congress of Christian Education, past Moderator of the Bowen East District Association, Second Vice President of the Alabama Baptist Northeast District State Convention, First Vice President of the Alabama Baptist Northeast District State Convention, and President of the Alabama Baptist Northeast District State Convention. Lecturer, instructor, and moderator are a few of the additional titles worn by Reverend Cooks. He was also a lecturer for the Young People's Department of the Alabama Baptist Women's State Convention, lecturer for the Bowen East District Youth Conference, instructor for the Bowen East District Congress of Christian Education, instructor for the Montgomery Bible Institute, and instructor for the Selma University Extension at the Bowen East District. He attended and was a member of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.


Reverend Eugene Cooks was the benefactor of numerous awards and recognitions. The late Mayor Oscar Crawley proclaimed Sunday, May 5, 2013, as Reverend Eugene Cooks Day in the city of Lanett. On Sunday, May 4, 2014, Mayor Crawley presented him with the key to the city.


On May 6, 1979, Reverend Eugene Cooks accepted the call as pastor of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. He served the congregation for 38 years. Under his dynamic leadership, many ministries have been established. On May 25, 2008, the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church dedicated a new educational wing that contains ten classrooms, a pastor’s office, secretary’s office, and a new dining/fellowship hall. The most important accomplishment that has taken place has been spiritual growth. Over two hundred members have joined under the leadership of Reverend Eugene Cooks, and eight sons have answered the call to ministry. The church has a renewed commitment to Evangelism and Outreach. When you witnessed Reverend Cooks sermons, a life changing experience occurred. Listeners were always prepared to be touched by the Words of God as they came from one of God's most faithful, dedicated ministers.


This great man of God answered his call on Thursday, September 21, 2017, at Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia. He was preceded in death by one sister, Mrs. Rose Cooks Jackson.


Reverend Eugene Cooks memory will forever be engraved in the hearts of his loved ones: a dedicated, committed, and devoted son, Mr. Leonardo DeShon Cooks, a loving daughter-in-law, Mrs. Angela Michelle Carter-Cooks, his most precious joys, two beautiful grandchildren, Zachery DeShon Cooks and Kennedy Michelle Cooks, all of Lawrenceville, Georgia; four brothers, Mr. James (Arrie) Cooks, Mr. Thomas J. Cooks, Mr. Stanley (Lucy) Cooks, all of Union Springs, Alabama; Mr. Ronnie (Carolyn) Cooks, St. Petersburg, Florida; two sisters, Mrs. Shirley (Lloyd) Ivey, Montgomery, Alabama; and Mrs. Evelyn Davis, Union Springs, Alabama; two sisters-in-law, son’s godmother, Ms. Mae Julia Booker, Valley, Alabama; Ebenezer Baptist Church Family, the Bowen East District Family, the Northeast District Family, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.


Reverend Eugene Cooks was a great man of enormous strength and intense devotion. He was a man full of life and compassion. As we honor the passing of this loving father, grandfather, brother, friend, mentor, and co-laborer in ministry, may we continue to celebrate his life and legacy. He was truly a faithful servant leader of Christ Jesus.