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Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 1998

ZOOK DIES AT 82

June 24, 1998

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The former chamber of commerce secretary-manager helped Lawrence grow into the city it is today.

He wanted to see Lawrence grow.

Everett R. ``Bus'' Zook, 85, died Tuesday morning. He was the Chamber of Commerce secretary-manager from 1948 to 1966, helping bring industries to Lawrence.

``He wanted to see Lawrence grow without hurting the businesses that had been there for years and years,'' his daughter, Suzanne Ferguson, said. ``He gave Lawrence the shot it needed to be where it is today.''

His family said he just liked watching Lawrence grow. He took great pride, they said, in the projects he was involved with.

``Mr. Zook was a driving force in the chamber's economic development push after World War II,'' Gary Toebben, the Chamber of Commerce president, said. The businesses he helped bring in were ``significant additions'' to the community, he said, including Hallmark, the Westvaco plant (now FMC) and Holiday Inn.

``He always had this vision of growth,'' David Zook, his grandson, said. ``He wanted to bring the right type of business into the community.'' Family members said he wanted new businesses, but not ones that would hurt local merchants. He felt strongly about Lawrence's downtown, too.

Toebben said that Zook worked to get parking lots in downtown. Those parking lots, he said, led to significant retention of businesses.

``Everywhere you drive downtown, Mr. Zook's work is everywhere,'' Toebben said. ``His work kept the downtown healthy.''

He also fought the idea of bringing a large, centralized mall into Lawrence.

``He thought downtown needed to remain the focal point,'' his wife, Louise, said.

Zook lobbied for downtown and for Lawrence. He was involved in lobbying for both Clinton and Perry Lakes, Allen Fieldhouse, and even for flood relief after North Lawrence was devastated in 1951.

He helped keep traffic flowing through Lawrence by lobbying to change the Kansas Turnpike route to go by Lawrence, instead of through Tonganoxie as originally planned.

``He didn't do everything single-handedly,'' his wife said. But he liked being involved, and seeing his ideas become reality, his family said.

Zook wasn't just involved in issues dealing with Lawrence. He also was director of the state Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Governor's Economic Development Committee in the 1960s.

``The best way to describe him is he was a driving force in the community,'' Toebben said. ``He retired from the Chamber 32 years ago, but his effect is still felt.''

Zook's career included working for Upjohn Co. before World War II; serving as an officer in the Marine Corp during the war; working as an auditor for a grocery chain; and as the chamber secretary in Liberal. After moving to Lawrence in 1948, though, he put down roots.

``He had his whole heart in this city,'' said Kim Zook, his daughter-in-law.

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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