Courthouse renaming to honor judge

A little more than a year after his death, plans are underway to honor a former federal judge and Wagoner area resident.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the name change of the Tulsa Federal Building and Courthouse in memory of H. Dale Cook, who served more than 30 years as a U.S. District Judge and spent his later years living near Fort Gibson Lake.
“I’m excited,” said Kris Cook, his wife.
She said she is thankful for the people in the community who have been kind and helpful since her husband’s death.
On Nov. 17, the bill proposed by U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla., passed in the House.
“It is with great pleasure that I rise today to honor Judge H. Dale Cook,” Sullivan stated on the House floor, adding that Cook spent more than 50 years in public service.
The building is at 224 S. Boulder Ave. in Tulsa.
Cook began his career in public service in 1951 when he was elected county attorney for Logan County in Guthrie.
He held several other posts in public service in Oklahoma, including first assistant U.S. attorney, chief trial attorney and legal counsel and adviser to Gov. Henry Bellmon.
In the early 1970s, Cook worked in Washington for the Social Security Administration until beginning his career as federal judge in 1974, when he was sworn in as a U.S. district judge for the northern, eastern and western districts of Oklahoma.
In 1979, Cook became chief judge of the northern district and served the position for 13 years.
He took senior status in 1992 to enable the appointment of an additional judge for the northern district.
As a senior judge, he continued to be active and carried a full court docket for the next 12 years, continuing until a few months before his death on Sept. 22, 2008.
Sullivan said Cook was instrumental in getting the original federal courthouse in Tulsa restored and reopened. Now it is included in the National Register of Historic Places and used for courtrooms, judicial chambers, the bankruptcy court and affiliated federal offices of the Northern District of Oklahoma.
“The building is now being used for its original purpose as a federal judicial courthouse, preserving the beauty of a lost era,” he said. “As a federal judge, he conducted his duties in a nonpartisan manner. It is my hope that the naming of this federal building will be an equally bipartisan effort to honor this exceptional man for his exemplary career in public service and bringing the federal courthouse back into its original grandeur.”
Kris Cook said she has no doubt the proposal will make it through the U.S. Senate, and both Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe will vote in favor.

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