“Harlem’s oldest Romeo” Clyde E. Cook was a proud member of the Harlem Village, and because of his inspiration and positive outlook, he was an optimistic figure in the community. His smile and kindness moved everyone that knew him; he was a strong pillar and role model.
Cook took great pride and pleasure in helping others. He loved writing poetry and going to the movies. His 6-foot-2-inch slender frame, rich baritone voice and cool demeanor led to his being called “Harlem’s oldest Romeo.” He was a father figure and dear friend to many. His direct involvement as a Harlem community advocate enhanced and enriched the neighborhood.
He was born in Selma, Ala., on Aug. 2, 1936, to the late Ira and Lottie Cook. Clyde was the youngest of four children. At an early age, his family relocated to Harlem and Clyde received his education in the New York City public school system, graduating from Clinton High School in the Bronx.
During his adult years, Cook fell in love and married Clarissa Harrison and resided in Harlem until she preceded him in death in 2006.
Cook joined the auxiliary police in the 1970s and graduated with honors. His professional career consisted of several managerial positions, beginning with Harlem Hospital, the City Municipal Building on Centre Street in lower Manhattan and the election polls and ending with the position of president and building manager of the newly renovated HDFC building located at 206 W. 121st St., around the corner from Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and a short distance from the 125th Street Mecca that he loved so dearly. He performed outstanding and exemplary service, helping others attain affordable housing.
Cook’s leadership abilities led him in becoming an active community affairs activities advocate. His diligent work to improve Harlem spearheaded his joining forces with the 28th Precinct auxiliary police. With every available effort, the two forces combined and cleaned up a crime-infested neighborhood.
Being such a lover of community, Cook became the president of the Golden Awards Committee. Under the leadership of Cook, the organization honored many of Harlem’s elite professionals for exceptional and devoted acts of service within the community.
Cook passed away quietly with dignity and grace after a brief illness at ArchCare at Kateri Nursing Home, located at 87th Street and Riverside Drive, on April 15.
Cook was preceded in death by his wife, Clarissa Cook, in 2006; his sister, Ruth DeLaine; and his brother, William Cook. He leaves behind his sister, Jean Cook; his brother-in-law, Calvin Cook; his son, Stephen Tyson; his grandson, Stephen Gerald Harris; his nieces, Barbara Stamps and family, Cynthia Christovals and family, Gloria Davis and family, Carolyn Cook-McClain and family, Kim Ricard and family; his nephew, David Cook; and a host of many other dear nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.
The funeral was held at Chapel of the Resurrection in Harlem. The interment was at George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus, N.J.