The widow of medical device industry pioneer Bill Cook again is the top Hoosier on the latest Forbes 400 list of the nation’s wealthiest people.
Gayle Cook of Bloomington ranks 104th with a net worth of $3.7 billion, according to the annual list released Wednesday. Though her net worth increased from $3.4 billion last year, Cook slipped out of the top 100, from her previous ranking of 96th. Bill Cook, who died in April 2011, founded Cook Group Inc. in Bloomington.
Simon Property Group co-founder and Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon continues to rise in the rankings, from No. 330 in 2010, to No. 273 in 2011 and to No. 218 this year. His wealth increased from $1.25 billion to $2.2 billion during that span.
Hotelier Dean White of Crown Point was the next wealthiest Hoosier, ranked No. 271 with $1.8 billion.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay climbed one spot in the rankings, to No. 311, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Microsoft Corp.’s co-founder Bill Gates remains the nation’s richest man by far, taking the top spot for the 19th consecutive year with a net worth of $66 billion.
Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., again took second with $46 billion.
Forbes said the rich mostly got richer in 2012, with net worth rising for 241 members of its list and shrinking for only 66. Rising stock prices, a rebound in real estate values and an increase in rare art prices helped.