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Street preacher John 3:16 Cook ‘went out with a thud’

This might just be John 3:16 Cook’s last headline.

The publicity-obsessed street preacher and self-styled homeless advocate died Saturday at Mike O’Callaghan Veterans Hospital after a long struggle with lung cancer, his wife and noted psychic and witch Magickal Marissa reports.

Cook was 79.

“He went out with a thud instead of a bang,” she says. “He wanted to die at home here with the dogs, but he was suffering so bad he collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital.”

As a flamboyant spokesman for the homeless, Cook and sidekick Marissa spent many years gathering and distributing food, clothing and blankets for the down and out of Southern Nevada. Cook also had his share of run-ins with local authorities, news-generating dust-ups he appeared to revel in.

He had many detractors, and late in his life he alienated old allies and friends. But he was also one of the valley’s more interesting characters.

As recently as three weeks ago, Marissa says, they worked a couple of homeless camps passing out goods for the destitute.

DINNER WITH DOKES: Former heavyweight champion Michael Dokes died Saturday after a 15-round fight with stomach cancer. He was 54.

Dokes battled opponents in the ring and cocaine addiction outside it. He also served prison time for assaulting a girlfriend.

To those who watched him in his prime, Dokes will be remembered as a devastating slugger with fast hands and the ability to take a hellacious punch. He also had a championship stomach.

One night at dinner with legendary local sports bettor Lem Banker, the Father Flanagan of wayward boxers and rumpled columnists, I watched Dokes put away two full platters of supper.

Then he politely asked if those of us who weren’t going to finish ours could ask for containers to go. He then piled the containers into a shopping bag provided by the restaurant waiter – just in case he got hungry later.

The atmosphere was business casual, but Dokes wore a bowler and a long fur coat.

He might have had a shirt on underneath, but then again maybe not.

Longtime sports radio host Larry Grossman recalls a dinner with Dokes in which the champ ate five entrees, then turned his attention to the dessert menu. He ordered every flavor of sherbet in the house.

Grossman asked, “Michael, what are you doing, having dessert or building a snowman?”

Even on his deathbed, Dokes managed to get his gastronomic fix, sending Banker’s pal Juan out for hamburgers and milkshakes. When the order came back with vanilla instead of strawberry, Dokes roared in protest.

Then he laughed like a man who had come to terms with eternity, a burger in either hand.

RYAN’S HOPE: Keystate Investments executive Monte Miller attended Tuesday night’s private meeting of Republican Party financial backers at The Venetian with vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

The gathering of an estimated 30-40 political contributors was hosted by Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson and lasted a little more than one hour, Miller said.

Even though it was held on the property of the presidential race’s biggest contributor to the candidacy of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, it wasn’t an official fundraiser. It was labeled a “finance meeting.”

Miller came away mightily impressed with Ryan’s intelligence, vision and straight talk.

“He’s bright, just like we all know, and he knows the subject matter whether he’s talking about taxes or (other important issues),” Miller said Wednesday.

Ryan discussed his views on the direction society is heading, Miller said, including “the idea that we’re growing a society that’s more dependent on government, something that a lot of us worry about.”

Unlike many in politics, Miller said, Ryan seems like a man who accepts responsibility for his actions and is “willing to admit when he makes a mistake.”

Not that Ryan made one, Miller quickly added.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.

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