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Memories & Candles

“I met Lester some years back as I drove down to Des Moines to pick him up and bring him to Minn so he could share in the passing of his life long...Read More »
1 of 7 | Posted by: Kevin Phipps - Friend

“I met Mr Cook while a patient at the Des Moines VA Community Living Center at the beginning of this year. I sat down at the same table with him...Read More »
2 of 7 | Posted by: Thomas Colthurst - Washington, IA

“My father (Royal H. Wells; Co.D 1st Battalion "Original Darbys' Rangers"; and 4thBattalion Rangers; and Korea, fought along side Lester all through ...Read More »
3 of 7 | Posted by: Jerry Wells - Altoona, IA

“Thanks for your great life and service,Ranger!/ Old Vietnam LRRP 1969e ”
4 of 7 | Posted by: Tim Rowbotham - Conneaut, OH

“Rest in peace Ranger, we'll all meet at the great hall in Valhalla! ”
5 of 7 | Posted by: Kenneth Landry - Humble, TX

“ODE TO MY NEIGHBOR, LESTER COOK -- THINGS I WISH I'D SAIDDEAR LESTER:LIKE OTHERS WHO HAVE NOT SERVED THEIR COUNTRY, I WILL NEVER TRULY UNDERSTAND THE...Read More »
6 of 7 | Posted by: Jim & Danielle Atkinson - IA

“Rest now Brother. Thank you for Leading the Way for us all RLTW ”
7 of 7 | Posted by: Everett Cheney - Brownsburg, IN


Lester Bernard Cook, 97, passed away August 9, 2020 at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. Lester was born September 25, 1922 in Des Moines, Iowa, to Otis and Florence (Beebe) Cook.

Lester graduated from East High School and immediately began his long and decorated military career with the US Army. In February of 1941 he enlisted into the Iowa National Guard 168th INF BN, 34th INF Division. Les volunteered and was selected to serve in the 1st Ranger Bn, Darby's Rangers. He served all of WWII with the 1st and 4th Ranger Bn's. He then served as a paratrooper with the 187th Airborne INF, Rakkasans, during the Korean War. Lester was selected to the 77th Special Forces Group serving as an advisor at the beginning of the Vietnam War. During his time with the Army he earned two silver stars, four purple hearts, and numerous other awards before retiring from active duty. He was extremely proud to be an original Darby's Ranger. Lester would have been jumping out of airplanes to this day if the Army would have let him.

After serving in the Army, he moved back to Des Moines and met his wife, Carolyn Lange, at the Post Office where he worked. They married on February 10, 1973.
Lester was known for being stubborn, but funny, and could be seen out on his bicycle until he was in his 70's. He also enjoyed his model trains, fishing, reading books, and watching The History Channel where he was always pointing out the inaccuracies in the military programs. To sum up Lester's life, he set an example for others to follow.

Lester is survived by his wife, Carolyn; and daughter, Andrea Lea Cook (Joe Stiles). He is preceded in death by his parents; and sisters, Louise and Betty.
A memorial services will be held at a later date.