Billy Cook was the son of the late Elder Maford Cook and Sister Ollie May Cook. Brother Billy was born May 18, 1949 in West Jefferson, NC. Brother Billy loved the Lord at a very young age and united with the church at Sulfer Springs in the Washington Association located in Southwestern VA at the age of 10. Brother Billy began preaching at the age of 16 years old. He later joined Rush Creek church and was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry December 14, 1968. Brother Billy was drafted shortly after by the US Army to serve in Vietnam where event took place that would change his life forever. In Vietnam he was exposed to Agent-Orange which would later lead to his diagnosis of Multiple-Sclerosis. While in the Army he met Sister Bonita at Tumbling Creek Primitive Baptist Church while on leave. They began writing letters to one another and after one date they united in Holy Wedlock on October 23, 1971.
Brother Billy and Sister Bonita had two children to this union; Jonathan 9/16/74 and Kimberly 10/17/75. When Brother Billy began showing symptoms of becoming ill, doctors thought it was a back injury. Then in the year of 1978, Brother Billy became sick and was paralyzed from the neck down with use of one arm. He was taken to Richmond Hospital in the middle of winter where he was told he would never come out of the bed or walk again. However, Brother Billy had faith that the Lord would cause him to come out of the bed. Seven doctors gathered around him to discuss his prognosis and told Brother Billy that he had M.S. and would never walk again. Brother Billy smiled at them and said, “The Lord has blessed you to be wonderful physicians, but I have one physician in heaven who is able to heal me.” The doctors shook their heads in disbelief and reassured Brother Billy that they did not want him to have a false hope.
While the family was going through a very difficult time, Sister Bonita was doing her best to hold everything together. She worked and took care of the children and trying to take care of a sick husband who was still in Richmond over 6 hours away. The bills were high, one phone bill was $100 and Sister Bonita did not know how they were going to pay it. She was reassured by her sister in law Sister Hazel Keith that the Lord will provide. The same day she opened the mail and received a check from the Primitive Baptist Church in Pontiac Michigan for $100! The Lord provided that same day!
Brother Billy later had a dream that a great hand came down from heaven through a great storm and picked his family up and set them on a mountain above the storm. After he awoke he knew the Lord was in the matter and would take care of the family. Shortly after that Brother Billy began to receive strength in his legs, and began physical therapy learning to walk again. Brother Billy was told he would never walk out of the hospital, but the day he was released he was wheeled to the hospital doors, he raised up out of the chair and feebly walked through the doors, then sat back down on the other side. Three weeks later Brother Billy walked into the river and administered his first baptism. At this point the Lord greatly began to bless Brother Billy’s ministry.
Over the next 20 years Brother Billy was greatly blessed in pastoring, preaching, and traveling to many churches and associations across the eastern U.S. from Florida to Michigan. He had a gift that touched all those who met him. People were drawn to him, many would come to his home and sit with him to the wee hours of the morning just to listen to him speak on the scriptures. The Lord blessed Brother Billy and Sister Bonita thoughout this time with a wonderful home, and the ability to raise their children through college and even to their weddings before Brother Billy’s M.S. took a turn for the worse. In the year 2004 Brother Billy and Sister Bonnie moved to Old Carroll Primitive Baptist Church. Around this time, Brother Billy lost the ability to walk and was becoming more ill. Sister Hazel Keith was moved in her heart to move to Maryland and help Sister Bonita with Brother Billy. From 2010-2012 Brother Billy was in and out of the hospital and in and out of rehabilitation and eventually got to the point that he needed a staff to take care of him. Brother Billy currently resides in the VA nursing home in Martinsburg, WV. He still attends services when he can, and when able he still takes a part in the services. He loved visitors and receiving phone calls he loved to talk – especially about the Lord and what great things He has done.
On Friday, November 10 2017 we learned that he had stage 4 lung cancer and a blood clot in his left lung. He understood the prognoses and told his son, Jonathan that he couldn’t wait to see his Savior. The Doctor’s reported that Brother Billy had 6 months or less left. He talked about his upcoming funeral as if he was planning for a large party event. During the next 10 days, they were filled with visitors and sharing his love for the Lord. The day before his last day on this earth, his Granddaughter Hannah Cook read a letter that she wrote about him in school as an assignment on a brave veteran. He was very touched by her letter, and told her that she should hang the letter up at home and not in his room because he was getting ready to make a long journey. The next day he told all the nurses, “Thank you” for their care. He had an evening phone call with Brother Bill Stephens about the scriptures concerning the resurrection. Within the next hour, at 10:15 p.m. on November 20, 2017 the Lord called Brother Billy home. His wife; sister Bonita and son; Brother Jonathan arrived 15 minutes after he passed from this life. Later that night, they witnessed the VA nursing home staff perform a “final salute” they covered Brother Billy with an American flag and as they moved him out of the nursing home area, every one that he passed either saluted or placed their hand over their heart.