OC employee Cook honored as he retires after 41 years

Rick Cook greets his friends and co-workers as they pass by his Englewood Avenue home Friday. Cook retired Friday after 41 years with the City of Oil City. He has been the city's property maintenance inspector and zoning officer. (By Ryan Kunselman)

A motorcade of honking cars and cheering riders snaked past Rick Cook’s house on Oil City’s Englewood Avenue on Friday afternoon to congratulate him on his retirement as the city’s property maintenance inspector and zoning officer.

The occasion was the last day on the job for Cook who retired Friday after 41 years with the City of Oil City.

The motorized salute was organized by Mary Ann Weidle and Michelle Hoovler, fellow city hall staffers, in lieu of a retirement party due to social distancing directives.

When Cook announced his pending retirement earlier this year, city manager Mark Schroyer told city council that Cook was “one of the best zoning officers I’ve ever worked with.”

Cook, a native of North Braddock, earned a degree in urban planning from Clarion University and served an internship with the Venango County Planning Commission until he was hired by the city in October 1978.

He began working as assistant planner in the city’s bureau of planning and community development under bureau director Tom Rockovich.

Over the years Cook’s responsibilities have included urban planning, zoning, grant writing and administration, code enforcement and other municipal duties.

When he submitted his letter of retirement to council, Cook said his time with the city was “both professionally and personally rewarding.”

“It was my great pleasure and honor to be able to work beside three of the finest public servants, and genuinely wonderful people, I have known in Curt Greene, Jim Hibbard and, especially Mary Ann Weidle,” Cook wrote in his letter.