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Willard's Story

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Willard D. Cooley, 93, of Mancelona, passed away on April 8, 2017 at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center Long Term Care. Willard was born on Jan. 23, 1924, in Jackson, the son of Willard and Lyla (Walton) Cooley.
Willard was a pilot for many years and enjoyed flying all over with his family. He especially enjoyed flying "Dawn Patrol" on Sunday mornings.
He was an avid swimmer and longtime swim coach. He coached at Albion College, Jackson High School and Jackson Parkside High School and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He was a president of the National Swimming Coaches Association and represented high school athletes in the Olympics.
He served in the U.S. Navy and loved to "tinker" and be in the outdoors.
On April 26, 1944 in Jackson, he married Jane B. Haase, who preceded him in death in 2016. Also preceding him in death were a daughter, Suzi Cooley; a son, Brian Cooley; three brothers, Richard, Harry and Robert Cooley; as well as his parents.
He is survived by three children, Christina (Phillip) Reed, of Bellaire, Richard (Lois) Cooley, of Denver, Colorado, and Martha Clements, of Anson, Maine; seven grandsons, Jason (Erika) Reed, of Ludington, Joel (Lisa) Reed, of Madison, Wisconsin, Josh (Natalie) Reed, of Northville, Michael Clements, of Seattle, Washington, Jarred (Melanie) Clements, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Justin (Sarah) Cooley, of Chicago, Illinois, and Jonathan Cooley, of Chicago, Illinois; five great-grandchildren, Olivia, Sidney, Ethan and Graeme Reed, and Owen Cooley; and a sister, Mary Miller, of Grand Ledge.
Funeral services will take place on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 2 p.m., at the Mancelona Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Pastor Eric Falker will officiate. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until the time of services on Thursday at the funeral home. Interment will follow in Fairview Cemetery, Mancelona.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.
An online guestbook is available at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.
Published on April 12, 2017
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