NORWAY — On Monday morning, Norway lost one of its outstanding citizens. Former chair of the Norway Board of Selectmen, tireless member of the Lakes Association of Norway and integral leader in the restoration of the Opera House, Bruce Cook filled numerous leadership positions quietly yet ferociously focused only on what was best for the town, according to those who have worked with him.

Bruce Cook selling Opera house paraphernalia during the Norway Arts Festival to support ongoing restorations.

Norway Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said Cook served the town of Norway on its Board of Selectmen for nine years with the last year as chair.

“The Staff and the Selectboard are deeply saddened by the loss of Bruce. Bruce was a leader to the Town and a mentor to me,” said Lajoie.

Current chair of the Norway Board of Selectmen Tom Curtis said Cook left a “lasting legacy” in the town.

Former town manager, David Holt, was deeply saddened by Cook’s passing. “I really liked Bruce,” he said. “He was very supportive of me … not that he didn’t get mad at me a time or two … but he was very good to me.”

“He did a lot for this town.”

Holt said someone “who runs for select board and shows up [to all meetings] and discusses each subject … is very valuable.”

“He cared a lot about the environment and lakes and made sure everyone thought about the decisions they made [with regard to the lakes]. I think that [the environment] was at the forefront of what he thought about,” Holt continued.

“He was a caring individual – for both the people of the town and those who worked for the town. He was fair-minded and honesty meant a lot to him. I feel like I owe him a bit … personally he was always so supportive of me and sometimes I didn’t think I deserved such support … but he believed in me,” Holt concluded.

Opera House

“In the early days, he was the first select board member who thought the town could get involved to save the [Opera house] building,” Holt recalled. “Bruce’s support of the project was equally as important as the funding of it.”

In fact, according to Dennis Gray who served on the Opera House board as well as the Norway Planning Board with Cook, “Bruce was instrumental, as the Opera House treasurer, in raising the funds” to restore the first floor.

“He was wonderful to work with and very dedicated,” said Gray.

On the planning board, Gray said, Cook would ask “thoughtful questions and helped the town with many beneficial projects.”

Norway Downtown

A former treasurer and board member of Norway Downtown, the organization was saddened to hear of Cook’s passing.

“Bruce was an integral part of Norway Downtown for many years,” said Co-Presidents Scott Berk and Katie Letourneau. “He made us a better and more successful organization. Bruce was steadfast in his dedication to our community and to several non-profit groups who were fortunate enough to benefit from his knowledge and his witty sense of humor!  To hear him and Andy Burns banter could put a smile on anyone’s face. As our treasurer he provided generally quiet and always competent financial leadership. He was a friend to many of us and will be missed by all of us.”

“I am not sure it is possible to capture who Bruce was with words,” added Letourneau.  “When looking at the definition of ‘exceptional’ I found this … much greater than usual especially in skill, intelligence and quality.  Bruce Cook was one of the most exceptional men I was fortunate enough to work with and call friend.”

RPC

Cook also served as treasurer for Responsible Pet Care for a time and, according to RPC President Shirley Boyce, loved his golden retrievers.

“As busy as Bruce was with his community service and working with other non-profits,” recalled Boyce, “he stepped up when we were in need of a treasurer and gave of himself more.  It was an honor to have him serve on the Board and have the benefit of his practical, insightful leadership.”

Lakes Assoc.

Cook served as president of the Lakes Association of Norway for 14 years. Current president, Sal Girifalco , said “Bruce was dedicated to LAON’s mission of protecting the water quality of Norway’s four lakes. He embraced the regular water quality testing of all four lakes and used the data to inform the community and the town about the health of the lakes, and the responsibilities of each to help protect our waters. He increased LAONs visibility to the town, strengthening town involvement as partners in protecting our lakes, including increasing the awareness of potential impacts of construction activities on lake water quality; increased awareness of the threat of invasive species, such as milfoil, being introduced by visiting boaters; initiated the program of hiring experts to perform an annual Invasive Species Survey of our lakes, with the aim of discovering any invasive species before they can get a strong foothold in our waters.

“It was a challenge picking up an organization after someone like Bruce had shaped it for so long. He helped me when I became president. We spoke often, and he provided guidance that assisted in the transition. Bruce was involved with many key activities within Norway and he will be missed by many.”

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: