Vernon Cook

Profile Updated: July 29, 2018
Residing In: Mt Vernon, WA USA
Spouse/Partner: Gloria
Occupation: Retired
Children: Ryan, born 1973. He is a veterinarian
Monique, born 1975
David, born 1977
Maya, born 2001
Military Service: Army, Air Force  
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I was drafted at the end of the Vietnam war and spent 4 years on active duty and two years in the Utah National Guard. After getting out of the military I got a BA and MA in Spanish from the University of Utah. I was thinking about a PhD until I decided that the pay wasn't all that good and switched to electrical engineering. After graduation I got a job with the US Department of State where I have been ever since. I have spent most of my career overseas having served tours in Argentina, Paraguay, Japan and Germany. I travel extensively with the Department of State and in the course of my career I have visited at least 84 different countries. My favorites are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Thailand, Egypt and Austria, among others. I am fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and German and I can get by in Serbian and Croatian. I also speak a bit of Japanese. Needless to say, I love traveling and learning new languages. I play classical guitar and hold a pilots license.

I married, divorced and then remarried. My wife, Gloria, is from Paraguay and we have (don't laugh)a lovely 7 year-old daughter who doesn't get out of school until 29 June, which makes it difficult for me to get to the reunion.

I also have two sons and a daughter from my first marriage and 4 grandchildren. My oldest son is a veterinarian working in Kaysville. I'm the only black sheep of the family who lives outside the state.

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Jul
30
Jul 30, 2018 at 10:58 AM

Posted on: Jul 29, 2018 at 1:56 PM

I decided that I had better update my profile for the upcoming 50th reunion. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed already. Old age really creeps up on you quickly, doesn't it?

I retired from the CIA about four years ago and moved to Paraguay with my family. Paraguay is where my wife is from and where I spent four years stationed at the US Embassy there from 1990 to 1994. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way we had hoped there so we moved back to the States two years ago. We are currently living in Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour and a half north of Seattle.

Retirement is not what it is cracked up to be and I found I was getting bored rather quickly so I've found some things to keep me busy. The first thing I did was to buy myself a Cessna 172 Skyhawk II airplane. I got my license as a graduation gift for myself back in 1989 and have been flying off and on ever since. Renting is expensive though so I decided to own - not that that's not expensive too, but it's more affordable. This year I crossed one of the items off my bucket list: overfly the Grand Canyon in a small plane. In June of this year, I flew from Seattle to Salt Lake and then on to Page, Arizona, after which I flew my plane over the Grand Canyon and back with my little brother. It was every bit as fantastic as I hoped it would be.

Shortly after getting back from that, my daughter and I took off for two weeks in Greece, Athens and Santorini. I had previously been in Greece three times, but it was always for business and I had never had the chance to get out of the Athens area, so this was a great opportunity. Santorini is every bit as beautiful as you see in the travel brochures.

Another thing I'm doing to keep myself busy is I started teaching an Aviation Course at the local high school. I am not a certified teacher so I shouldn't even have been able to do that, but they school district was desperate. Their aviation teacher found another job and quite, which left them high and dry. They made an exception in my case because I am a pilot and I have the knowledge and expertise they needed. They gave me what they call an 'emergency teaching certificate' which allows me to teach. To tell the truth, it's the ideal part-time job. I teach an hour and a half every other day and I get full dental and vision insurance along with it. And what's even better is that I don't have to go to any faculty meetings. And besides that, it has been fun teaching high school kids about the joys of flying.

I have also been doing a considerable amount of translation work. I became friends with Thomas Thiemeyer, a well-known German thriller and sci-fi author while I was in Germany. I had begun reading his books as a way to help me learn German, but after becoming friends, I also began to translate some of his works into English. So far, I have translated twelve of his books into English and I am starting on the thirteenth. Thiemeyer is trying to break into the English-speaking market, something that is not an easy thing to do. The book I am currently working on was his first. It is called "Medusa." He has just finished revising it for a second edition publication in Germany and together with that, he will be publishing it as an E-book on Amazon. With a little luck, we will be able to get some of the other books I already translated ready for publication. I started doing the translations mainly to help me keep up on my German, but now it's looking like they might actually get published. It has been a lot of fun and a lot of work and I have really enjoyed getting to know the author.

We spent nearly two years in Paraguay before deciding to move back to the States. During that time I taught physics and Portuguese at an international high school there. That was definitely an interesting experience. The school had a varied mix of students ranging from local Paraguayans to children of foreign diplomats and businessmen who were living in the country. Many of the locals came from very wealthy families, which made for some very interesting students. Some were very hard-working, while others pretty much thought that their daddies would be buying them everything they need in life, including their careers, so they didn't have to lift a finger.

Well, can't think of much more to say right now so I'm going to quit. I am really looking forward to seeing all of you again at the reunion.

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Jul
29
Jul 29, 2018 at 1:26 PM
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Jul 29, 2018 at 1:25 PM
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Jul
30
Jul 30, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Posted on: Jul 29, 2018 at 1:23 PM

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Jul
10
Jul 10, 2018 at 4:49 PM

Posted on: Jul 08, 2018 at 1:40 PM

I just crossed one of my bucket list items off my list: Overfly the Grand Canyon in a small plane. Ever since I got my pilot's certificate back in 1989, one of my dreams has been to fly over the Grand Canyon in a small plane. Just last week I was finally able to do it. Together with my younger brother, Darrel, we flew from Salt Lake to Page, Arizona where we spent two nights. From Page we flew down through the Zuni Corridor and back up through the Dragon Corridor over the Grand Canyon. Flights over the Grand Canyon are strictly controlled so as to not disturb the tranquility of the park. Therefore, you have to fly through specified corridors and at specified altitudes. The flight was everything I had dreamed of and I thoroughly enjoyed. I got a little bonding time with my brother too. The entire trip took 1.9 hours from Page. Parts of the attached video have been sped up to 7 times normal speed to make it a little shorter. I've also attached a few pictures, some of which are of Antelope Canyon just outside Page. I did the flight in my 1977 Cessna 172 Skyhawk II.

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May
17
May 17, 2018 at 10:26 AM
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Feb
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Feb 04, 2018 at 4:33 AM
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Feb 04, 2017 at 4:33 AM
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Oct 05, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Posted on: Sep 28, 2016 at 10:46 AM

Just moved back to the States a couple of months ago. Paraguay has certainly changed since I last lived there a little over 20 years ago. It has gotten very expensive, the traffic is awful as are the streets, which are full of potholes, and the crime rate has gone through the ceiling. We stuck it out for two years and decided to come back to civilization. We looked at the Salt Lake Valley, but it too has become to crowded so we opted for the Pacific Northwest. It's gorgeous up here. I've started to settle into retirement, but I'm quickly learning that I need to do something to keep busy. I taught high school physics and Portuguese while in Paraguay and now I'm doing some translation work for a German author friend of mine who wants to publish his work in English. I also bought an airplane - a Cessna 172. I got my license a little over 20 years ago, but haven't done much flying because it was just too expensive. Now that I have my own plane, it is much more affordable. I love it.

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Jul 28, 2016 at 10:22 AM
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Feb 04, 2016 at 4:33 AM
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Feb 04, 2015 at 4:33 AM
Joy Tsuya Joslyn posted a message on Vernon Cook's Profile. New comment added.
Oct 07, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Posted on: Oct 07, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Hope all your things have arrived and you have found a residences to put them in! Good luck... It looks like you have traveled a lot a seen a good part of the world! Continue enjoying your journey! Joy

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Sep 17, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Posted on: Sep 14, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Just entered the next phase of my life. I decided to retire and relocate to AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay where my wife is from. It's a major move for us and will require a lot of adjustment since the wheels turn very slowly down here. Still looking for a house, setting up residency, trying to open bank accounts, waiting for our household effects to arrive, etc. So far retirement has not been very relaxing, but we hope that will all change shortly.

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Posted: Mar 09, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Family trip to Egypt last year. My wife Gloria and my daughter Maya.
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Victoria Falls in Zambia - The widest in the world.
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Angkor Watt, Cambodia
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
My wife and I in Okinawa, Japan
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Me at James Bond Island, Pang Nga Bay, Thailand (from the film The Man With The Golden Gun)
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Me in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Me at the controls of a brand new Gulf Stream 5 corporate jet. I have a pilots license, but only for single engine prop planes. This was on one of my trips to Thailand where I got the chance to sit up in the cockpit.
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
My daughter, Maya, and I in front of our apartment in Frankfurt, Germany
Posted: Mar 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Wife and daughter at St. Peters in Rome.