Edwin Mark Cooley

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Edwin Mark Cooley (Ed), 70, passed away at his home, the Presbyterian Manse, at 1604 Crestview Drive, in Cordell, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, May 22, at 10:47 p.m., surrounded by his sister Suzann Cooley Clem, his brother and sister-in-law Greg and Frances Cooley of Virginia, his wife of nearly 47 years, Loralee Coleman Cooley, and Shepherd Hospice nurse Pat Surratt. He had been under the care of Dr. Jonathan Ray Long for stomach cancer since April 10. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joe H. Cooley and Frankie Mae Bell Cooley, originally of the Lubbock, Texas area, but at their death, living in Charlottesville, Virginia, and by a nephew Matthew Clem of Sterling, Virginia. He is survived by his wife Loralee Cooley of the home, his brother, Gregory Joe, and wife, Frances Cooley, of Earlysville, Virginia, Greg's son, Gregory Joe Jr., wife, Amy and their three children of Keswick, Virginia, Greg's daughter, Jane Corinne, her husband, Robert Fruehwirth, and daughter of England; his sister, Mary Suzann Clem and husband, David, and their sons Brian and his daughter Peyton Mae, and Kevin and his fiancee Yvonne Luu of Sterling, Virginia. Besides his wife and siblings, Ed is remembered by several foster and international daughters and their families. Carla Landwerth and husband Jimmy Crawford of Phoenix, her children, Shannon (Rick) Black and daughter, Rebecca, son, Michael (Christi) Phillips and son, Robert, all of Phoenix, and daughter, Kimberly, of Honolulu, Bridgette Ballew and son, Alexander Christopoulos, of Southhaven Mississippi; Dr. Adriana Buechele of Brazil and husband, Dr. Sunil Bhole, of India, of Alpharetta Georgia, and children Ashley, Neenah, Derrick, Isabella, and Claire. In Madisonville, Louisianna, Thadria and Tony Garma and Max, Luka and Isabelle. Diana Dimitrova of Bulgaria and her husband David Furber live in Ithaca, New York with their children Dessi and Dylan. Edwin Mark Cooley was born on Thursday, July 1, 1943, the first child of Frankie Mae Bell Cooley and Joe Harvey Cooley in Amarillo, Texas. He attended public schools in Masterson, Texas (half-way between Amarillo and Dumas) and Amarillo, entering Tascosa High School in Amarillo with the first four-year class, but graduating in McLean Virginia after his father was transferred from the Helium Activity office in Amarillo to the Bureau of Mines in Washington, DC, in 1960. After attending William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a time, Ed became a clerk-typist with the government, working the Executive Office Building, an annex to the White House. During that time, he experienced a historic day in August, 1963, when the March on Washington took place at the Lincoln Memorial, and he was part of the audience who heard the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Earlier, he had witnessed the 1960 Inauguration Day events from the second floor window of the office of the father of a friend, and some months later he had an accidental brush with history when he found a scribbled note on his desk in the Executive Office Building, telling him to call a certain person. Only too late did he learn that the scribbled note had been written by JFK himself, who had a habit of answering a ringing phone and taking messages. He was also on lock-down with all government workers on Friday, November 22, 1963, when Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. Eventually, he entered Texas Tech University in Lubbock, completing his work toward a B.B.A. In 1966, he entered Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky in September, 1966. While he didn't graduate, he did meet his wife, Loralee Coleman, of Charleston Illinois, then a church music major and the reigning Miss Louisville 1966. Instead of graduating, she began teaching fifth grade elementary. After nearly a year, they moved to Monticello, Indiana, where he was assistant controller for a division of RCA. Sometime later, they were off to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and he was working for Roper Corporation. It was in Chattanooga that they became involved in the foster care program of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, working with what were then called “status offender” adolescents who had committed minor offenses such as truancy, vagrancy or being kicked out of their homes. Their first foster daughter was Jenni Patton. By summer, Loretta Gail Sivley had joined the family. Her mother had died, and she had a small Social Security support check which went to whoever had custody of her. That money was turned into a CD by the Cooleys so Gail would have some funds of her own once she turned 18. They lost track of Jenni when addresses became too confused, but Gail remained a major part of their lives. It was only about three years ago that word came of her death at the age of 55 shortly after her birthday. She was in California, happily married, and the mother of a grown son, David Eric. Bridgette Shannon Ballew was the third foster daughter. She lived with them from late 1971 to about 1974, moving with them from Chattanooga to McLean, Virginia, to Casa Grande, Arizona, where she married her first husband, and where she stayed until meeting her second husband and father of her son, Alex Christopoulos. She now lives in Southhaven, Mississippi, in the greater Memphis area, and has remained a close and treasured member of the Cooley clan. In the summer of 1972, Ed remembered a girl they had known at the Crestwood Baptist Church. Her name was Carla Landwerth. Ed decided she needed a change of venue and invited her to live with them and Bridgette in suburban Washington, DC (McLean, Virginia). Both girls experienced appendicitis, which made for an eventful summer. In August, Ed took a non-government job in southern Arizona to administer a vocational training program on the Papago Indian Reservation, funded by various governmental agencies. Carla was back in Kentucky by then, and Bridgette was still recovering from appendicitis. But by January, Carla was back with the Cooleys, expecting her first child, Shannon, named for Bridgette Shannon, who arrived on June 11, 1973. That completed the family for a time, except for two young women from Brazil who came by way of Experiment in International Living, Lizabeth Calasans and Angela Elza Fortas. One more foster happened in 1981, with a young man, Shaun Odor, from Hartwell Georgia. By now, Ed and Loralee were in Atlanta, where he was with Marcoin (Marketing Consultants International).This foster care was not a successful venture. It was in Atlanta that the Cooleys made the switch from Southern Baptist to Presbyterian. And it was here they met another Brazilian, Dr. Adriana Buechele Bhole, studying dentistry at Emory University. She, along with her husband, Dr. Sunil Bhole of India, and their children, Ashley, Neenah, Derrick, Isabella and Claire live in Alpharetta, Georgia, and are an integral part of the family. An American girl, not needing fostering but becoming a good friend, was Thadria Bell Garma in Atlanta. She and her husband, Tony Garma, now live in Madisonville, Louisiana, along with their children, Max, who completed deployments with the Marines in east Asia and Afghanistan, Luka, a university student in American history, and Isabelle, a high school equestrian. Another important family is that of Diana Dimitrova and her husband David Furber. Diana, a young woman from Bulgaria, was a student at Furman University, and David holds a PhD from SUNY, Buffalo. Ed and Loralee met her through Shannon Phillips, Carla’s daughter, while Shannon was studying vocal music at Anderson College and staying with the Cooleys in 1991. Diana became a frequent visitor, and eventually married David Furber of Atlanta by Ed, in May 1997. They now live in Ithaca, New York, with their two children, Dessi and Dylan. The family completes the circle. Ed’s pastoring began in August 1988, when he accepted his first call after graduating from Columbia Theological Seminary in May 1988, at Roberts Presbyterian near Anderson, South Carolina. The church celebrated its 200th anniversary in April, 1989, and subsequently added an educational wing under Ed’s leadership. He completed his doctorate of a D.Min in 1993, and accepted a call to First Presbyterian in Pampa, Texas, beginning in June 1994. This ministry continued through a horrendous car crash on their anniversary/ his birthday on July 1, 2003, when both were incapacitated for some time. The church bonded together in a caring ministry to their minister and wife, and the healing for all was remarkable. He ministered in Pampa until April 2006, when he began his interim at First Presbyterian in Canadian, Texas, where he served until moving to Cordell, Oklahoma, in August 2009. There, he worked with Columbian Memorial Presbyterian in Colony and First Presbyterian in Cordell, with great delight and a full sense of call. He preached his final sermons at both churches on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014. Services were held for Dr. Edwin (Ed) Cooley at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at the First Presbyterian Church, Cordell, Oklahoma, with Rev. Carol Waters, officiating. Services were under the direction of Musick-Varner Funeral Home, Cordell, Oklahoma.
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