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'He died doing what he loves': Friends, family remember victims of Shawano Co. building explosion

Posted at 6:09 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 07:33:04-05

TOWN OF LESSOR, Wis. (NBC 26) — Three people were killed in a building explosion on Friday in the Town of Lessor.

Their names were released Monday: 52-year-old Timothy Cook Sr. of Oshkosh, 49-year-old Kenrick Larson of Neenah and 60-year-old James Moon of Keshena.


"The first thing we thought was 'oh God, I hope that that's not his shop,'" Whitney Shaver said. "We knew that his shop was located on 47."

But the worst was true for Shaver. Her close friend Moon was one of three who died.

"Then we got the news Sunday morning that he had passed," she said. "We didn't really know how to take that."

According to Shaver, Moon was renting the building that exploded. He restored cars and bought vehicles at auction as the owner of Midwest Motorsports.

"We were not in a place where we could just go and buy a new vehicle, and we had been told that he does payments, which is a huge thing," Shaver said.

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Explosion in Shawano County. Dec. 31, 2021

That's how she met moon years ago... buying a car. Shaver says Moon leaves behind children and grandchildren.

"He was a good guy," she said. "He helped a lot of people that needed to get into vehicles when he was in [Shawano] that really just didn't have the money to go in and put thousands down."

Timothy Cook Sr. also died in the explosion. His cousin says the 52-year-old Cook was just helping Moon in order to help work off a friend's debt.

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Timothy Cook Sr. also died in the explosion.

"You know what Timmy was doing?" John Witwer said. "He was up there cleaning that building out paying that car off for that man. ... That’s what kind of guy he was. Timmy’s right there with his dump truck, that AWA dump truck set out front with scrap in it. He was hauling all the stuff for that guy to pay off his buddy’s car."

Cook owned dump trucks and pavers, leaving behind his own business he worked to create.

"He died doing what he loves to do," Witwer said. "He was working. I swear to God he wouldn't want to go out any other way. That man worked from sunup til sundown."