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Robert Allan Cooley left this world early Sunday morning January 15, 2023, at the age of 86. He lived a long life full of adventure. Bob was born the youngest of seven children to Claude Monroe and Aimee Adele (Ricketts) Cooley in Chama, New Mexico on July 22, 1936. At the age of six, he became one of the “Children of Las Alamos” when his father, mother, sisters, and brother-in-law performed various jobs related to the famous Manhattan Project. After World War II ended, the family moved to Hotchkiss, Colorado where he graduated from high school in 1955. Bob enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 17, 195 and did his basic training at Parks Air Force Base in California. While in the Air Force, he was stationed at many different bases both at home (including MacDill AFB, Florida, Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana, K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan, Eielson AFB, Alaska, and Cannon AFB, New Mexico) and abroad (in Thailand, Taiwan, and England). He worked on numerous aircraft that included the B-47s, B-58s, F-4s KC-97s, L-20s, KC-135s, and F-111s. In short, if it flew he probably worked on it. In July of 1976, Master Sargent Cooley was transferred to his final duty station at Edwards Air Force Base in California where he was involved in the initial testing of the new F-16s. These aircraft have gone on to be an important part of the US Air Force mission. On July 31, 1978, Master Sargent Robert Allan Cooley retired after 22 years of service to the United States Air Force. Throughout those years he earned several commendation medals and learned much about the field of electronics. In 2018, Bob was honored at the annual Goddard High School Veteran’s Assembly. After moving the family back to Clovis, New Mexico, Bob began a new career which required making an almost daily 90-minute round trip to a meat packing plant in Friona, Texas. At the time of his retirement in 1998, he had served as refrigeration foreman for many years. After two retirements, his next venture was to cultivate two acres of land into a paradise that was enjoyed by everyone who drove past the Cooley home. He nurtured various species of trees, bushes, and flowers to make his part of the world a place of extreme beauty. Bob could never be still. He always had an ongoing project… a yard project, a house project, assisting someone with a project like helping to build a bookshelf or table and teaching someone to change a tire! He would see a need and take care of it.
Bob was joined on his journey by a beautiful, strong, adventurous lady. He married Emma Jane Culver on April 4, 1958 in Montrose, Colorado. Together they built a life that continued for 57 years, many of those years were spent raising their three children. The family was involved in bowling leagues, baseball teams, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and lots of travel.
Bob is survived by people who call him Daddy, Pop, Pops, Pop-Pop, Poppa, Gramps, Grandpa, Brother, Uncle, and Friend. They are daughter, Sharon Collins (Richard) of Roswell, New Mexico; sons, Steven Cooley of Weatherford, Texas and Shawn Cooley (Jennifer) of Castle Rock, Colorado; granddaughter, Allison Collins of Lubbock, Texas; grandsons, Bobby Cooley of Fort Worth, Texas, Patrick Collins of Roswell, New Mexico, and Ian Cooley of Castle Rock, Colorado; great-grandson, Jonah Collins of Lubbock, Texas; sisters-in-law Betty Richburg and Mildred Cox of Montrose, Colorado, and multiple nieces, nephews, and friends.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife Emma Cooley, his parents Claude and Aimee Cooley, his sisters Carol Cooley and Lorraine Rister, his brothers Melvin Cooley, Kenneth “Buddy” Cooley, and James Cooley, two infant brothers, his daughter-in-law Belinda Cooley, and several brothers- and sisters-in law, nieces and nephews.
The family would like to offer special thanksgiving and gratitude to Kim Hestand, FNP-C, Dr. Hamid Feroze and his staff, the staff at Mission Arch Health Care Facility, the residents and staff of Peachtree Retirement Village, and the staff of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.
Robert Allan Cooley will be buried in the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico with full military honors.
Honorary Pallbearers will be Bob's grandchildren and great-grandchild.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.