Deceased January 5, 2019
Mercer Cook passed away Jan. 5. After Amherst, Mercer was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study international relations at the Instituts d’Études Politiques in Paris. Thereafter he took up residence in Chicago in 1953, received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1956, joined the Illinois Bar and spent 10 years in the private practice of law.
The balance of Mercer’s career was devoted to public service, including working for the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the state’s attorney’s office, where he held the position of deputy state’s attorney until his retirement in 1993.
He was an expert on city land acquisitions and a seasoned courtroom attorney. In 1993 Mercer participated in the founding of the National Black Prosecutors Association, an organization dedicated, through scholarship programs and public forums, to promoting the advancement of Blacks as prosecutors for state and local governments.
Mercer recalled that being at Amherst was a wonderful experience. Both history professor Dwight Salmon, for whom he graded examinations, and Geoffrey Atkinson, his honors professor with whom he met three times a week one on one, provided him with stimulating learning experiences.
Aside from work, Mercer was an avid reader and a golf enthusiast.
As writer of this piece, I recall I always enjoyed my five or so phone visits with Mercer during my 13 years as class secretary or co-secretary. We shared similar golf round experiences! He is survived by his wife, and by three of his four children from his first marriage.
Everett E. Clark ’51