BüDINGEN, Germany — Library patrons in Büdingen and Hanau, Germany, lost a real advocate last week.

Neal D. Cook, an Army veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, died April 26 after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 34.

“He was a fine man, he really was,” said Ina Nesbitt, the head librarian for the 414th Base Support Battalion.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Cook joined the Army in January 1989. He served in the Persian Gulf War and was later assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion in Giessen, Germany.

After leaving the service in May 1998, Cook worked for Morale, Welfare and Recreation before joining the Büdingen library staff in January 1999. Cook went on to distinguish himself as an approachable librarian, Nesbitt said. Members of the Büdingen community, home to the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, even complained a couple of years ago when Cook was transferred to Hanau, Nesbitt said.

“People knew they could always call on him,” Nesbitt said, “and he was glad to help them out.”

He is survived by his wife, Ramona M. Santos, the release said.

A Catholic funeral Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Fliegerhorst Chapel in Erlensee near Hanau.

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