Memorial Services for Jim Cook, the ‘Father of Joint Custody’

Jim Cook, often called “The Father of Joint Custody,” was buried this afternoon. A memorial service is being held for Jim tomorrow (Saturday)–the details are below. I’m flying to Boston Saturday morning so I won’t be able to attend the ceremony, so I instead paid my respects to this great man at his graveside service today.

One nice thing was that I had a chance to get to know his son Randall. It was a judge’s refusal to allow Jim to share custody of Randall after his divorce during the 1970s that launched the joint custody movement.

He told me that Jim had served in the foreign service in Teheran, Iran at the time of the 1953 coup, and had also studied at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon. He said that Jim had been a lobbyist for the Rand Corporation and other businesses and had spent considerable time both in Sacramento and Washington DC.

Randall and his wife Wendy are attorneys in the Bay Area, and they have three young children. Randall told me that Jim had enjoyed his grandchildren and passed away peacefully at age 85.

It was hard watching Jim being lowered into his grave, but Jim led a full and good life. I’m fortunate to have had the chance to get to know him some during the last 5 years of it.

The details of the Saturday memorial and reception are below, and I urge anyone who would like to share their thoughts about Jim to feel free to post them on this blog post. To learn more about Jim’s work, click here.

A memorial service will be held for Jim at 3 PM on Saturday at Old North Church and a reception will be held Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hall of Liberty. All services will be held at Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks, Hollywood Hills, located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California 90068.

Jasmin E. Martinez of Forest Lawn can be reached at 1-800-204-3131 for questions. Martinez advises that friends and family are welcome to either mail their condolences to the above address in care of James Cook’s family or can submit their condolences either by email to or by fax to 323-769-7336.

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