While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Charles McCloud
Felix Cook
Photograph, Picture of Felix Cook. Courtesy of Houston Independent School District. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

COOK, FELIX LOPEZ, JR. (1926–2012). Felix Lopez Cook, Jr., educator, was born on November 26, 1926, in Houston. He was the son of Felix L. Cook, Sr., and Mattie (Farrington) Cook. He attended the public schools of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and in 1944 graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School, where he participated in football and track. In 1948 Cook earned a bachelor of science degree from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where, prior to graduation, he had continued to excel in track and football. He was very proud to have been a member of the 1945 Wiley National Championship football team. Subsequently, he got his master's degree in higher education from Texas Southern University and pursued advanced studies at the University of Houston. Ultimately, he was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Wiley College.

Felix Cook
Photograph, Picture of Felix Cook at HISD's Living Legends Ceremony in 2012. Courtesy of Houston Independent School District. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Cook was employed by the Houston Independent School District for thirty-six years. For many of those years, he both coached football and taught social studies, science, and physical education at Phillis Wheatley High School. After leaving Wheatley, he worked in various administrative offices for HISD. He had the distinction of being the first black principal to serve Sharpstown High School, a mostly white secondary school in HISD. At the time of his retirement in 1986, Cook was HISD's Deputy Superintendent of Personnel.

For twenty years, Cook served as an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University, where his courses on personnel management, school law, professional negotiation, and human relationships impacted a generation of students. Cook also served on numerous boards, including the Julia C. Hester House, the Harris County Sports Convention Center (HCSCC), Wiley Board of Trustees, the Harris County Hospital Board of Managers, and the Trinity Gardens Baptist Church Deacon Board. He also helped establish the Houston Partnership and was a member of the State Board of Education’s advisory board under former Texas Governor Mark White.

Felix Cook
Photograph, Picture of the front of Felix Cook Jr., Elementary School. Courtesy of Construction Ltd. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Over the years, Cook was the recipient of many honors. In 2006 he became the first African American, while still living, to have an HISD school named for him. The Felix Cook, Jr. Elementary School was dedicated on the same land formerly occupied by the Sanderson Elementary School when it existed as part of HISD. (His wife, Opal Augusta Ross Cook, had been a longtime teacher at Sanderson). In 2007 Cook was inducted into the Texas Southern University College of Education Hall of Fame. Other honors included Man of the Year at Sharpstown High School, Educator of the Year at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and the United Negro College Fund’s Distinguished Leadership Award. He also received appreciation awards from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the American Red Cross, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Texas Children's Hospital, and the Salvation Army.

Felix Cook died in Houston on August 8, 2012. His wife Opal and a son predeceased him. He was survived by a son and a daughter. His obituary characterized him as a “man of honor and integrity who lived and cherished God, his family, and his community.” He was buried in Brookside Memorial Park in Houston.


Houston Chronicle, August 10, 2012.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Charles McCloud , "COOK, FELIX LOPEZ, JR. ," accessed May 26, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcoau.

Uploaded on June 13, 2013. Modified on February 22, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...