‘Never Missed a Super Bowl’ Member Dies at 79

One of the men featured in that TV commercial for Visa who never missed a Super Bowl, has died.

Though he wasn’t able to make it to Texas for the latest game, Bob Cook had watched it from his hospital bed in the Milwaukee area as his beloved Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’m just a die-hard Packer fan,” he said before the Packers’ victory over the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game on Jan. 23. “I’d rather watch football than any other sport.”

Cook’s wife says he died last week after a blood infection and other chronic issues. He was 79.

Cook and the three other members of the “Never Missed a Super Bowl” club were the stars of the Visa ad leading up to the Super Bowl. The four attended all 44 Super Bowl games.

Cook and the three other members of the “Never Missed a Super Bowl” club — Thomas Henschel of Tampa, Fla.; Larry Jacobson of San Francisco and Don Crisman of Kennebunk, Maine — were the stars of a Visa ad leading up to the Super Bowl.

Henschel, 69, said Cook was the last to join the group, during the 36th Super Bowl. Henschel had met Crisman and another man who also had been to every Super Bowl around the 17th Super Bowl.

Henschel, a Steelers fan, said Cook’s two daughters went to the game in his place.

“It was kind of strange,” he said. “Here’s his team playing against my team. I thought we’d have a little fun. Maybe put a little wager on the game.”

Cook was the former owner of Bob Cook’s Vagabond Travel Service and started going to Super Bowls while working there. When asked in January why he goes to every Super Bowl he said: “I don’t like the season to end.”

“When football’s over I wait for the preseason,” he said. “No, I wait for the draft. Then the preseason. Then the season. Then the postseason. I worked hard not to let it end.”

Cook said it was relatively easy to get tickets for the first few Super Bowls. He said he even went to a few Super Bowl cities without tickets but always got lucky when he got there. One year someone gave him tickets for free but another year he had to sell off some of his jazz record collection to pay for a ticket.

As for how much money he spent on going to each game — Cook said he doesn’t know.

“I probably could have bought a better house or put a couple new cars in the garage,” he said in January. “It’s all worth it and I’m very happy with my household and the way it is.”

Cook has said the 31st Super Bowl was his favorite, when the Packers beat the New England Patriots in New Orleans. And he had hoped he would make it to the 50th Super Bowl.

Sarah Cook said her husband of 28 years enjoyed doing the commercial this summer and all the attention since then.

“He had so much fun with this,” she said. “The last couple months of his life were truly enjoyable.”

Cook had said recently he hoped he would make it to the 50th Super Bowl.

The Visa ad was voiced by Morgan Freeman.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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