1917 - 2004


(Photo from Terry's Collection)

The following is an excerpt from his obituary:

"From 1938 until his death, he owned and operated Cook’s Tire and Automotive. He built and owned Cook’s Motel for 10 years, was a local U-Haul dealer for over 50 years, and owned Cook’s Storage. He loved both playing and listening to music and played the piano until his death. Terry was also a charter member of the Wellsville Lions Club, which was started in 1942. He was active until his military service in the US Army as he was in Europe during the later part of World War II. He was also in the service after the war stationed in Germany. He returned to Wellsville and continued his membership with the Wellsville Lions Club. He will be known for his dedication to service with chairmanship of such committees as club history, citizenship committee, and music and songs committee for the Lions Minstrel Shows, which he actively performed in over 55 shows. He is best known as an accomplished piano player for meetings and playing God Bless America and “In Our Den” to close out Lion meetings and Minstrel shows. He also sponsored 2 members of the Lions club of Wellsville. He has had 23 years of perfect attendance, and was awarded Life Member in 1989. In 1995 he was awarded the highest honor in Lions International and the Wellsville Lions Club, the Melvin Jones Fellow. Terry enjoyed the Lions Club and enjoyed the friendship and most of all the service to a community he loved."  


Below is an article written as a talk to give before the Wellsville Lions Club.  It covers a great deal of Business History of Wellsville and is presented here to show the diversification that was Terry Cook.

To show the way he went out of his way to help others, I relate a short story of how he "went the extra mile" to help me out when I was a young man.  Ron Taylor.

"In September 1965 I had decided to move to Albany and obtain my Bachelor's Degree.  I was married and had 2 small sons at that time and was moving all my possessions via U-Haul Truck which had been loaded the previous day.

Leaving Andover at 8:30am for the long trip to Albany took me over the hill to Wayland and as the truck topped the last hill before Wayland a loud bang told me I had an engine problem and serious one.  I coasted down to the Garage at edge of Wayland and discovered the engine was unrepairable.

In calling Terry Cook on Labor Day weekend and telling him I needed help, he took over immediately.  He had another truck driven all the way from Binghamton to reload.  On top of that he found 3 young men to send from Wellsville to wait for the truck to arrive and move all my goods from one truck to another.  I was always grateful to him for his extra help!"


Main Street As I Have Seen It


In 1936 I moved to Wellsville from Friendship NY.  Howe Library was just being built on the site where the former Wellsville High School had been torn down after a fire.  When completed, the library was moved across the street from the corner building now used for the village offices.


Shortly after this I started working part time in Loblaw Grocery Store, located where the Book Store is now.  Lion Jim Gardner was working there at the time.  W. T. Grant Co. was in the other half of the building now occupied by First Federal Savings Bank.  On the other side was the “New York” Clothing Store and “Stacies” Ice Cream Parlor.


In 1937 I went across the street to work full time at A&P Store where Johnson Furniture is now.  Claytons Ice Cream Parlor was next door.


In 1938 the Cities Service Gas Station, located on the present Police Station lot, was about to close; so I decided to try my hand at it.  We had an open grease pit to service cars and hand crank gasoline pumps.  That was the year of the Sinclair fire and the town was out of electricity, so I was the only one who could pump gas with my hand crank pumps.  In 1941 I moved up to my present location as an Esso dealer.  George Harkness Clothing Store was next to me and “Pop Bradley” had the restaurant across the street.  Sun Drug Co. was in where Burrous Furniture is now.  Pickup’s Hotel was going strong.


In 1942 some fellows came to me and asked if I would like to help organize a Lions Club, and I said sure.  I was playing piano for the Exchange Club at the time, but they never asked me to join.  They were all a lot older than I was.  Later on the “saying” used to be that the Exchange Club owned the Town, The Rotary Club ran the Town, and the Lions Club, we were the youngsters, had all the fun.


We had our first Lions Club meetings in the old Brunswick Hotel.  Then we soon moved to the Fassett House where we stayed for a long time.  My orchestra played for most of the Charter night dances.


The first couple of years we had a large turnover in membership.  There was also a war going on and we lost a lot of members to the Armed Forces.  At one time, we were down to about 8 members.  We had a meeting in Bob Flieschers office to decide whether to abandon the Club or keep it going.  We decided to try to keep it going.  Shortly after this Lion Ted McClure went into the Merchant Marines and I left for the Army.


When I returned in 1946, the Club was starting to grow again, and they already had their first Minstrel Show.  I was part of the second show and many more to follow.  One year we took the whole show to the Bath Veterans Hospital and performed for the patients.  Before going on stage, 5 of us – Lion Doc Blaisdel,  Dr. Howell, Rod Tucker, Brad Harrison and myself – toured through the wards, playing and singing for the people confined to their beds.  It was a very rewarding trip.


One of our later projects was transferring all the patients from the old Hospital to the new Hospital after it was built.  We carried or wheeled the patients down the rickety old elevator, and wheeled them across planks to the new building, where nurses got them back into bed.  It was an all day job. 


Pickups Hotel was going strong those days and Dana Pickup was a Lion member, so we moved our meetings over there for a while.  The Hotel burned down and we eventually moved our meetings to the Hotel Wellsville, which is now, also torn down.  We finally moved to the Country Club where we still hold our meetings.


Many, many businesses have fallen by the wayside – Scoville Brown grocery, Foss Brothers Wholesale, The Market Basket Store, corner of Main & State St; the Danaley Faxon grocery, which was later turned into the “Gold Room”, now part of the Fassett Hotel.


Lion Del Mackle was manager of the Public Loan, which is now Cannon’s Clothing Store. 


Lion Bill Hendricks A M Mini Mart was once a Kendall Service Station with a garage in the rear which was torn down to make way for the new modern Atlantic Mini Mart.


Burdicks Garage gave way to the new Fire Hall.


M&W Tier Co used to change tires in the street in front of the building now occupied by the Army Recruiter Office.


The Home Diner and several houses are now the Ambulance Corps building.


The old Fire Hall, where we held our first Minstrel Show practices, burned down to make way for the Madison St extension and bridge crossing.


The Marathon Restaurant is now the First Trust parking lot.  At one time every building on both sides of Main Street was occupied and there was a shortage of space.


Buildings were torn down to make way for Pizza Hut.  Four buildings were destroyed by fire next to my station, which I have turned into a parking lot.


Lion Ted McClure’s father worked a long time for Halls Drug Store which was in the building where Lion Tim Torrey has his Beef Haus.


Lion Clayton Haley operated a grocery store where the N.Y.S. Government office is now.  He late moved it to the Super Duper Building.


Newberry’s 5 & 10 cent store was located in the Carter Hardware building.  They had a food counter and sold Hot Dogs for 5 cents.  How about that Jim Raptis?  The third floor was called Newberry Hall where they held dances until the building was declared unsafe.


The Telephone Co had offices in the building were Don Hauslet’s Law Offices are now located.  All telephone calls were handled there by operators until the new building was built on W. State.  On the corner of Fassett & Main Streets was a large house where Dr. McCarty had his office and residence.  This was moved in one piece to Cummings Place, where it is now located, to make way for the present J. J. Newberry Store.


During these years there were at least 14 different grocery stores up and down Main Street.  Now, there are only the AM Mini Mart and Linza’s Market.  Taking in the side streets and shopping plazas, there were over 25 grocery stores.  How many can you name?


“Pop Bradley” had a restaurant in the building now occupied by PJ’s Pub.  For a long time you could buy a Hot Beef or Pork Sandwich with mashed potatoes and coffee for 25 cents.  Those were THE GOOD OLD DAYS.


Lion Ray Woodworth was manager of one of the first Market Basket Stores located next to Burrous Furniture, and Lion Mel Chartreau was manager of the new Market Basket on West Main Street which was torn down to make way for the new arterial.  This in turn moved to the present Giant Food location where Lion Stan Burrell works.


Loblaw Grocery had five different locations, starting at the present Book Store, where Lion Jim Gardner and myself worked.  Next they moved to the Rite Aid building and then to the Central Tractor building.  Next they moved to the Ames Big N Plaza.  Eventually to the K Mart Plaza, where it was turned into Bells Super Market, now operated by Lion Chuck Stahara.


We can’t forget Tullar Field and Pony League baseball, which had a large effect on all our lives.  George Harris, Sr., Glenn Smith, Don Ludden and Louis Cousoff (Marathon Restaurant) helped keep baseball in Wellsville for many years.


You see Wellsville Lions Members played a large part in the history of Main Street, Wellsville.


Perhaps two of the oldest businesses on Main Street are the Texas Hot (Lion Jim Raptis) and Rockwells Dept Store (Lion Paul Sweet).  Now Lester Chevrolet, Hetzels and S & H Cad. are going to merge and establish a new business on S. Main.  I have sold my property and plan to move the business to a new location on the Andover Road.


I am planning to take my retirement and to me, I guess, this is the end of the Era of nearly 50 years on Main Street;  Wellsville, New York, U.S.A.




Yours For Lionism


Terry Cook