Theodore S. (Ted) Cook began his work on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River System in 1964 known at that time as the Arkansas River Project. He was head of the Little Rock District Construction and Operations Division when he retired in 1985. Cook oversaw much of the bank stabilization work, completion of the locks and dams in Arkansas and the opening of navigation from the Mississippi River to Trimble Lock and Dam at Fort Smith. This 445 mile long multi-purpose navigation system unique in its design was a high profile project nationally and closely monitored by Corps of Engineers Headquarters. It was the largest civil works project ($1.2 billion) the Corps had ever undertaken at that time. It had an established completion date of 1972 to Catoosa, Oklahoma that was dependent on annual appropriations overseen by Senators McClellan of Arkansas and Kerr of Oklahoma. Cook was highly respected for his team-building leadership style and known throughout the Corps of Engineers for his dedication to the Arkansas River.

His honors include the Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1977 (Second highest civilian honorary award), Federal Employee of Year for State of Arkansas in 1983 and inclusion in the Little Rock District Gallery of Distinguished Employees. The tow boat, M/V Ted Cook was named in his honor as was the naming of Cook's Landing, a river park immediately upstream of Murray Lock and Dam on the North Little Rock Shore. A native of Virginia and WWII veteran he adopted Arkansas as his home. His wife (Jean) and three children are still residents.

John A. Sparlin was born in Miami, Oklahoma November 22, 1935. John graduated from Miami High School in 1955. He spent a year at Oklahoma State University before entering the army. After his tour of duty with the army John returned to Oklahoma and enrolled at Oklahoma City University as a part-time student while working as a police officer. John graduated from OCU with a degree in economics in 1965. He went to work with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Industry. John also worked for the Oklahoma City Planning Commission during their urban renewal planning project.

John joined the Tulsa District Corps of Engineers in 1965 as an economist. During his 42 years with the District John was involved, one way or the other, in virtually every project. As Chief economist he directed feasibility studies for flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power and military transportation.

In 1985 John became a member of the Oklahoma Waterways Advisory Board where he served until his retirement early this year. He also served on the Oklahoma Federal Executive Board, Native American Committee and the Native American Program Committee, US Army Corps of Engineers and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, Economic Development Authority.
There are many more facets to this man's career and contribution to the nation with his involvement in the study and planning of the many water projects, community projects and with the Native American tribes of Oklahoma.


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