- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Former Kentucky Sen. Marlow Cook, who served in Washington during Richard Nixon’s presidency, has died. He was 89.

Cook, who also held local office in Louisville in the 1960s, died Thursday morning in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida. His daughter, Caroline Ely, says Cook suffered a heart attack last week.

After an unsuccessful run for Kentucky governor in 1968, Cook was elected the next year to the U.S. Senate. He served one term before losing to then-Gov. Wendell H. Ford, a Democrat, in 1974.

Cook was the first Catholic to win a major statewide office in Kentucky, The Courier-Journal reported (https://cjky.it/1QIzZik). He was master of ceremonies at Nixon’s inauguration for his second term in 1973.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat, each worked for Cook during his time in the Senate.

McConnell offered a tribute to Cook on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, saying Cook “was someone who proved that Republican success was possible in a commonwealth dominated by Democrats.”

Yarmuth said he remembers Cook “not only as my first boss, but also as someone who directly and significantly shaped my life and the lives of so many in public life.”

Cook was elected county judge in Jefferson County in 1961 and during his term purchased a paddle wheel boat at a bankruptcy sale. He had it refurbished and renamed the Belle of Louisville, and the 100-year-old steamboat is still docked on Louisville’s shore today.

Cook retired to Florida about two decades ago but continued to occasionally weigh in on political matters.

In 2004, he announced that he would remain a Republican but was endorsing Democrat John Kerry for president because he opposed Iraq War and certain Bush administration policies.

Ely, one of Cook’s five children, said the family had not yet made funeral plans.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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