In explaining a complicated legal case, attorney George V. Cook of Garden City might liken its structure to classical music.
A grandson who mentioned Russia during a car trip to a Giants game at the Meadowlands got a 90-minute lecture on Russian history that gave him enough information to write a school paper on the topic.
"He was very interested in the arts. He used the arts constantly in references to imparting his values and lessons to his family, to his grandchildren and even with senior executives at work," a son, Robert Cook of Wading River, said Wednesday as he talked about his father.
The elder Cook, 85, died of natural causes Saturday.
Cook was born in Glendale, Queens. He was the youngest of four boys and his father died when he was 6 years old. He was raised by relatives and attended Newtown High School in Queens.
After graduation in 1944 he joined the Army and served a stint as an officer in Germany. He attended Columbia College and got his law degree in 1952 from Columbia University Law School. He worked at a Manhattan law firm for a few years before taking a job in 1956 with AT&T.
He met his wife, Edith, who died in 2002, after returning from the Army. They moved to Garden City in the early 1960s.
At AT&T, Cook worked on legal matters dealing with the first commercial use of outer space in the launching of the Telstar communications satellite in 1962. He later worked on the antitrust case that resulted in the restructuring of AT&T in 1982.
In preparing that case, Cook's papers show he made a presentation in which he compared the legal work to "not unlike the composition of music . . . it is like fugue with its basic subjects emerging through the complex interplay of individual themes, their development with its repetitions its counterpoint and its resulting harmony."
He also is survived by three sons, George Jr. of Westfield, N.J., James of Germantown, Md., and Walter of Wantagh; four daughters, Mary Holzmann of East Northport, Laura McDonnell of New Hyde Park, Barbara Zaino of Westbury and Elizabeth King of Wilton, N.Y.; and by Gloria Farbizio of Farmingdale, who grew up in the Cook household but was never formally adopted.
The family will receive visitors from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, 1201 Franklin Ave., Garden City. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday in the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City. Burial will follow at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.