Michael Richard Cooley passed away quietly in his Ruidoso home on June 6, 2018, at 70. He was born in Silver City on June 27, 1947, to Harlie E. Cooley and Blanch J. Newman Cooley. Most of his childhood was spent in Carlsbad until moving to Hobbs, then graduating from Hobbs High School. He was very well liked, had been their first male cheerleader, and spent his Friday nights on a dance floor.
He joined the United States Marine Corps in June 1968, serving two years in Vietnam and two years in Washington D.C. During his four years as a Marine he received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal, Vietnamese Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, and Rifle Expert Badge and was discharged from the service as a sergeant. He was a proud Marine.
Following his tour of duty, he studied Rural, Town, and Regional Planning at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana and later received a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy/Systems Counseling at Bastyr University in Washington. As a city planner in Missoula, he was responsible for the establishment of a city park and, from there, worked as a city planner and was on the zoning committee in Tacoma, Washington. As a counselor in Cuba, New Mexico, he worked with recovering alcoholic and drug abusers.
He loved New Mexico, having lived all over the state. After retirement, upon the urging of his life-long good friends Duane and Toni Batte, he moved to Ruidoso three years ago and stayed in their cabin, and it was here in Ruidoso where he began a new life, one that gave him happiness and fulfillment. He was vice-chair of the Democratic party of Lincoln County, was on the Board at Fort Stanton, and volunteered at the Fort Stanton Museum. He had several circles of friends including fellow democrats, Fort Stanton colleagues, and his dog park friends. He was often seen at the park with Chip, his rescue dog, and if an animal is any indication of its owner, Mike was friendly, playful, and loving. The two met the most wonderful friends there, human and canine, who loved him and kept an eye on him in so many ways, especially his “dog park ladies”, Sarah Ball and Nina Grunseth. He was truly a gentle soul - quietly honest, dryly humorous, politically feisty, and working hard to be the best man he could be. Those who knew him loved and respected him.
He was preceded in death by his parents Harlie and Blanche Cooley as well as a brother Patrick. He is survived by his sisters Betty Bieber (LaRue) of Pennsylvania and Louise Kirchmeier (Jim) of Texas, a daughter Casey Cooley and three grandchildren, Dominic, Merisa, and Brayden Cooley of Niagara Falls, New York.
A service will be held at the Fort Stanton Cemetery at 10:30 A.M. on Friday, June 15, 2018
For those who wish, donations may be made in Mike’s name to either Fort Stanton National Historic Site at http://fortstanton.org/ or the Humane Society of Lincoln County at www.hslcnm.org
Louise I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.
Kathy BroadGatesville, TX
Just like that dad, you were gone. It's so hard to believe I didn't get the chance dad before you had to leave. To tell you that I love you and to hold your hand and say, just how much you meant to me in each and every way.
RIP dad - I love you and miss you
CaseyNiagara Falls, NY