Curtis Dillard Cook of Goodyear, Arizona, passed from time into eternity on Saturday, December 2, 2023, at the age of 85. Curtis is survived by his wife Judy, his daughter
Christine (Randy) Wilcox, sons Gregory (Carla), Bradley (Holly), and David (Lisa), and step-daughter Jessica (Steve) Bonner. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, brothers Mark (Sharon) and Brent (Becky), and sister-in-law Jan. He was preceded in death by his parents Alvis and Birdie Cook, brother Tom, and sister Rita Carol.
Curtis was a linguist who lived with his family at Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico for 16 years. While there, he converted the oral Zuni language into written form after he developed an alphabet. Believing that his linguistic abilities were a gift from God, he translated and published the Gospels of John, Luke, and Mark, along with the Book of Genesis and a book of selected Psalms called “Sacred Land – Sacred Words.” In addition, he translated a number of Zuni folk tales and authored a Zuni Dictionary which is being used in several New Mexico school systems. His work has been archived in the Curtis D. Cook Collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Zuni people named him chummali (which means locust) because they said that he was always chattering to them in Zuni. His love of the Zuni people was expressed in his devotion to their tribe through the preservation of their language in written form and his translation work. Curtis was a popular speaker in various museums and university settings throughout the Southwest.
Curtis will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and members of the Zuni tribe.