Carl Loock Passes Away

TSDHOF inductee Carl Loock died on the evening of October 9, surrounded by his three children and a few of his favorite things. Loock, a longtime River Oaks resident, General Dynamics engineer and renowned pioneer of Texas swimming and diving, with the legacy of more than 50 years volunteering, teaching, competing, and coaching, died peacefully at 103 years old.

Born on a farm in Hecla, S.D., April 18, 1914, Carl grew up in the Black Hills, where he and his father, Rev. Carl H. Loock, were involved with selecting and dedicating Mount Rushmore. His mother's Ward family came to America on the Mayflower. He learned to swim in the same creek in Custer where gold was discovered in 1874. As a "preacher's kid," he went to Dakota Wesleyan University at age 16, majoring in chemistry, math and physics, with minors in religion and ethics. An all-around athlete, competing in football, baseball, basketball, pole vault, swimming and diving, he also lettered in cheerleading and debate and played semi-pro basketball against Jessie Owens. After graduation, he worked as head lifeguard and coach for local kids from Rapid City and Pine Ridge Reservation, becoming State Champions in 1940-41.

Carl met his gentle wife, Edith, a Canadian nurse, while life guarding in Rapid City in 1941. They moved to Fort Worth in 1943, where he worked as an engineer at the Convair Consolidated bomber plant, later General Dynamics, retiring in 1979 after 36 years. Carl was inducted into the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2008, coaching all three children, Vicki, Cal, and Christine, and their teammates from Ridglea, Panther Boy's Club and SMU to state, national, NCAA and international diving levels. He and Edith were also honored by the American Red Cross for 45 years of volunteer service teaching life guarding, swimming and water safety.

Some of his favorite memories included standing atop Mount Rushmore at the 1925 dedication, presenting President Calvin Coolidge a horse, and dancing with Edith to Willie Nelson, live, on Jacksboro Highway. Carl was predeceased by Edith in 2010 after 68 years marriage. In their senior years, they were treated with tenderness, dignity, love and respect, by neighbors, Castleberry ISD, city hall, and their many beloved caregivers at Fireside, Brookdale Westover Hills, and in hospice. Carl became a River Oaks celebrity at 100. When interviewed by the "Today Show" about his secret to longevity, he said: "Get a good education, marry well, and stay interested."

He is survived by his daughter, Vicki Loock Veris; son, Cal Loock; daughter, Dr. Christine Loock; grandchildren, Christine (Cain) Dawson, (Carl) Dietrich, Emma, and Allegra Loock Friesen; two great-grandchildren; plus many cherished nieces and nephews in Canada and the U.S.