Gayle Cook

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Gayle Cook
Gayle Karch

(1934-03-01) March 1, 1934 (age 87)
EducationIndiana University
(m. 1957; died 2011)
ChildrenCarl Cook

Gayle Cook (née Karch, born March 1, 1934)) is an American businesswoman who in 1963 co-founded the Cook Group, a medical equipment manufacturing company, with her husband William Cook.[1][2] In 2014, her net worth was estimated at US$5.8 billion.[3]

Early life[edit]

Gayle Karch[4] was born on March 1, 1934 in Evansville, Indiana, the daughter of Arthur and Thelma Karch.[5] She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts.[6]


In 1963, she and her husband William Cook co-founded the Cook Group, a medical equipment manufacturer.[7][8] As of 2013, she still served on the company's board of directors.[2]

According to Forbes, she had a net worth of $5.8 billion in 2014,[7] up from $5.2 billion in 2013, placing her at #85 on the Forbes 400 for the year.[2]


Cook has made charitable contributions to her alma mater, Indiana University, and serves on the board of the Indiana University Foundation.[6] She received the Gertrude Rich Award in 1983 an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1993, both from Indiana University.[6]

She and her husband have funded the restoration of many historic buildings, mainly in southern Indiana, including 40 that appear on the National Register of Historic Places.[4] She is a co-founder of the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, a member of the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, and a Landmark member of The Nature Conservancy.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Gayle Cook was married to William Cook from 1957 until his death in 2011.[9] Their son, Carl Cook, succeeded William as CEO upon the latter's death.[10] She also has a granddaughter.[4] She has coauthored two books on local landmarks, A Guide to Southern Indiana (1972, with William Cook) and Monroe County in Focus (1990, with Diana Hawes and Will Counts).[6]


  • A Guide to Southern Indiana (with William Cook, Owen Litho Service, 1972).
  • Monroe County in Focus: Portrait of an Indiana County (with Diana Hawes and Will Counts, Discovery Press, 1990).


  1. ^ Kathleen McLaughlin, Gayle Cook tops list of richest Hoosiers, Indiana Business Journal, September 22, 2011
  2. ^ a b c "240 Gayle Cook" (paper). The Forbes 400. Forbes: 161. October 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Forbes profile: Gayle Cook". Forbes. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (April 25, 2021). "Bill Cook, Medical Device Maker, Dies at 80". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  5. ^ The Bill Cook Story: Ready, Fire, Aim!. Indiana University Press. 2008. ISBN 9780253352545.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Honoree: Search Awards: University Honors & Awards: Indiana University". University Honors and Awards. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Gayle Cook". Forbes. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  8. ^ Preservationist Gayle Cook to discuss 'The Mystique of Domes', Indiana State University Newsroom, October 17, 2011
  9. ^ Schuyler Volasco, Forbes billionaires list: Meet the nine richest self-made women, Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2013
  10. ^ Zaltsberg, Bob (August 6, 2016). "Carl Cook inherited his father's company — and his vision". The Herald-Times. Retrieved October 17, 2021.