"Everyone knew [the runaway driver]. He owned a restaurant where the deputies would go eat and have coffee for free. He just had minor charges against him. I told the guys, 'If I would have killed him, where were you all gonna go and eat?"

The MCSO later assigned Cook to the courthouse, where he provided security for many of the county's most momentous cases, including the fraud and perjury trial of Arizona Governor Evan Mecham and Mecham's brother Willard.

He became close with many judges — including Ron Reinstein, Mike Ryan (now an Arizona Supreme Court justice), and the late Mike O'Melia. But the affable deputy didn't play favorites, chatting up prosecutors, defense attorneys, court personnel, and familiar members of the news media.

Roy Cook, on his last day on the job, December 30, at the county courthouse.
Paul Rubin
Roy Cook, on his last day on the job, December 30, at the county courthouse.

And as the hours slipped away on Roy Cook's last day, Judge Penny Gaines, another of the deputy's favorites, happened to pass through the lobby.

"This is a momentous day in our county's history," Judge Gaines said, as Cook stood there smiling. "Roy has been a court institution for years, and some of us know him to be a gourmet and food critic. He is absolutely reliable and wonderful. This courthouse will never be the same."

Cook took the elevator up to an office he shared with his fellow deputies. He already had moved most of his stuff out, but his roll-top desk (a present long ago from a judge) still was there.

Cook was just a few hours from the end of his last shift. He told more war stories, enjoying the gentle ribbing of his colleagues.

That's when Deputy Bob Kissler came up with the droll comment about Roy Cook's retiring just as he's figuring out what the job is all about.

The line stuck with Cook.

"What this job has been all about," he said a few minutes later back down in the lobby, "is being nice to people unless they make it so you can't be nice to them. Luckily, most people have been nice — even the bad guys."

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Patti McConnell
Patti McConnell

I want to reach Roy Cook. I am an old high school girlfriend who hasn't seen or heard from Roy Cook since our days together at Phoenix Union High School. I have been on and off searching for him through these past years. I congratulate him on his retirement. I too have retired, in Salt Lake City. I was a dance professor for years after I left Phoenix. I so fondly remember how lovely Roy was to me.Patti

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