Nettie Leona Cook was employed in administrative service division at the Chanute Air Force Base for 26 years. She also had a very active civic life in the Champaign-Urbana Community, serving as the Corresponding Secretary of the Champaign-Urbana Kindergarten Association; Co-founder and past officer of the Royalettes - a civic-minded club; Worthy Matron of Deborah Chapter #27, Order of Eastern Star; Financial Secretary of the Champaign County Section of NCNW; Telecare Volunteer, and Election Judge. As a devoted member of Bethel A.M.E. Church, she served as Treasurer of the Missionary Society, and the Church Building Fund Raiser; a dedicated representative to Church Women United and she served on the Stewardess Board. For all of these activities, she received many service awards.
She was a charter member of the National Council of Negro Women, Champaign County section.
The following comes from a 1983 biography of Ms. Cook:
"Shortly after the Civil War Mrs. Cook's grandmother came to Champaign, most likely to find work. Her father was born in the city and graduated from Champaign High School in 1885. Years later she herself graduated from the same high school. "When I was a little girl things were a lot different. There were only two or three colored families in town. There was no prejudice then, only later when more colored came to town." She has worked as a keypunch supervisor in Springfield during World War II, and later at Chanute. Her husband of 41 years, Ernest T. Cook, operated Cook Brothers Cleaners and Alterations with his brother Edwin, for many years. During the thirties the business was located on Walnut Street. The cleaners was closed briefly during World War II while both brothers served in the army, then re-opened on
Taylor Street from 1945-1982."