Gayle Karch Cook graduated from Indiana University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In 1963, she co-founded the Cook Group, a medical equipment manufacturer, with her husband. As of 2013, she still served on the company's Board of Directors.
She was married to william Cook, who died in 2011. They had a son, Carl Cook.
According to Forbes, she had a net worth of US$5,800,000,000 in 2014, an increase relative to US$5,200,000,000 in 2013 which placed her at #85 on the Forbes 400 for the year.