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Gary L Cooley

January 10, 2024

Gary Cooley Obituary

Surrounded by his family, Gary L. Cooley, 75, peacefully joined our Creator on January 10, 2024 at Advent Hospital in Parker, Colorado. 

Gary was born in Hannibal, Missouri to Lester and Cecelia Cooley on June 22, 1948. He grew up in Peoria, Illinois. At the age of sixteen, he met the love of his life, Marzella (Marcy). After graduating high school, Gary joined the Navy and served on the USS Princeton in the Pacific Fleet until his honorable discharge. Gary was a factory worker at Caterpillar for 35 years before his retirement. 

He will be greatly missed by his wife, his sons, Jason & James, his daughter in laws, Jaime & Gina, and his three grandchildren, Noah, Elliana & Greyson. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law along with many nephews and nieces. 

He is proceeded in death by both of his parents, grandparents and many dear friends. 

Gary enjoyed being outside, camping and anything that was or contained chocolate. Reese's peanut butter cups were the source of many smiles across his lifetime. Gary enjoyed old movies, especially John Wayne. Above all else, Gary loved his family. He was a husband to Marcy, his best friend, high school sweetheart and soulmate, for 56 years. He was a proud father, doting grandfather and friend to anyone who knew him. Gary was loyal, loving, and generous. He also loved practical jokes and was known for being a bit of a stinker from time to time. 

Gary was passionate about caring for God's creatures. When his boys were young, he would teach them how to catch animals safely and then set them free. He never wanted to see an animal harmed and as a family they rescued many dogs and cats over the years. Later in life, Gary sought out all opportunities to spend time with his three grandchildren. He especially enjoyed "drive-in movies" in the back of their minivan or movie dates with them, where he would ensure they had the biggest tubs of popcorn known to mankind. When his sons and grandkids were small, he prided himself on being the master Lego builder and would play any game they invented. 

Gary was a strong sailor and loved his time on the water. He is now sailing on a journey to shores we cannot see. We know that his mind is now clear, he is free from pain and on calm seas. "Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean."

In the final years of his life, Gary suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Despite the disease taking more and more from Gary, his family still saw glimpses of his unbreakable bond with his wife and his love for his family. The disease may have claimed much of the final years of Gary's life, but it in no way defined his legacy. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask for donations for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund to help with their research toward methods of treatment, early detection and ultimately a cure. 

May the Lord grant Gary peace (and a place to sail).

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Funeral Service
January 20, 2024

9:30 AM
Bethel Lutheran Church
200 Colona Avenue
Bartonville, IL 61607


Cure Alzheimer's Fund
34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills MA 02481
Tel: 1-781-237-3800


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