Cover photo for Alan Howard Cookson's Obituary
1939 Alan 2021

Alan Howard Cookson

July 3, 1939 — March 28, 2021

Alan Cookson died Sunday, March 28 in Houston Texas. He was born in London on July 3, 1939 the oldest of 3 children born to Joseph and Rachel Cookson in London, England. Alan graduated from Queen Mary College, London, with a PhD in electrical engineering. He was one of three students selected by the College for a summer internship at Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh, PA. Another summer break in 1961 he and 3 friends bought an old jeep and drove to India through Greece, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. They camped out and would often wake up to find themselves surrounded in fascination by local people. At that time few people in these parts had seen foreigners but they always knew where to find a garage for a flat tire or broken part even in the wildest places.
After graduation, Alan took a job as Research Officer at Central Research Laboratories in Leatherhead England. He was responsible for designing and constructing the research test facilities for high voltage testing. After three years he accepted a position at Westinghouse and he and his wife, Elizabeth, and son Richard moved to Pittsburgh. A few years later their second son Simon came along. In the 1980’s once the family realized they were going to stay in the US they became US citizens. It was a very exciting time for engineers as Westinghouse was in the forefront of research and Alan became a leader of the programs he was working on. He travelled extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan. Alan had a creative mind and has 32 patents to his name and published over 60 papers.
In 1992 he was offered a position at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg Maryland. He very much enjoyed the work there and retired as Deputy Director of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory in 2007. Alan always enjoyed helping develop people and tried very hard to mentor and encourage those around him.
As a school kid and at college Alan had played soccer and cricket which he loved. He continued to be very athletic into adulthood. He enjoyed sailing, playing tennis, and golf. When his boys were kids, he coached soccer and refereed. He went with them to Boy Scout camp and endured mosquitoes and bad tents. After retirement he enjoyed going to Sanibel Island, Florida and cycling and playing tennis, walking on the beach pretending he was not looking for the perfect shell like everyone else. Visits to London were always a joy for him. He would see his family and friends from way back, and in later years he would take the grandchildren to his favorite places.
Ten years ago, he moved with Elizabeth to Houston where Simon was living with the grandchildren. He loved being close to them but unfortunately, he had already received the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. It was not apparent for several years but the last few years were difficult for him. He was always thinking of new ways to make things work better and enjoyed photography and music. He was always true to himself, and tried to do his best for himself and others but not to outdo anyone. A colleague called him a gem.
Alan is survived by his wife Elizabeth, sons Richard and Simon, and grandchildren Spencer and Presley, as well as a brother Barry and sister Bernice in England.
Donations in Alan’s honor may be sent to the Houston Area Parkinson Society. https://www.hapsonline.org/
To order memorial trees in memory of Alan Howard Cookson, please visit our tree store.

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A graveside service was held this week in Emanu El Memorial Park; Rabbi Annie Belford officiating.

The link to the Graveside Service video is here: https://youtu.be/0SdCyCFp-dI

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