Espanola, NM Written by John Snider, Branch Manager- Albuquerque
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.
Richard P. Cook, a lifelong resident of Espanola New Mexico did just that. Richard spent a lifetime changing the Northern New Mexico landscape, but his life was much more than that. After graduating from Santa Fe High School in 1943 Richard began his life’s journey. He served in the U.S. Navy and was trained as a “frogman”. He attended college at The University of Denver and received a degree in Business Administration. He then returned to Espanola and began working for his father at the Espanola Mercantile. In 1957 Richard started Espanola Transit Mix. The company serves Espanola, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and many other areas of northern New Mexico. Eventually Richard took the Espanola Mercantile business over from his father and renamed it Cook’s Home Center and grew it into a well-known local hardware store in the Espanola Valley. From there he expanded his businesses to include road building, construction, manufacturing, land development and mining. His businesses made him one of the largest private employers in Northern New Mexico.
Richard also gave back to his community. He spent 20 years volunteering as a firefighter for the Espanola Fire Department, he was an Eagle Scout and a troop leader for many years and was a major contributor to many charities and non-profit organizations. In 2016 he was awarded the Living Treasure award in recognition of a man who has contributed to his community by establishing commerce and stability for generations by enhancing the beautiful tapestry of the City of Espanola. Richard has left behind a legacy, his work within and for his community will stand for many decades to come.