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American Veteran 08


Jesse Charles Cooley

June 21, 1945 ~ September 1, 2019 (age 74)

Jesse Charles Cooley was born June 21st, 1945 to the late Neotha and John S Cooley Sr. in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was fourth child born to this union.

When Jesse was in the 9th grade his parents moved the family to Akron, OH where he attended and graduated from Central High School on June 4th, 1964.

During this time the United States was about 10 years into the Vietnam War and the need for brave young men to come forward and serve in the military was echoing throughout the country. Jesse, like many young men at that time was swept up in the draft. Jesse took an oath and upheld the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless- service, honor, integrity and personal courage from September 1, 1967 to August 31, 1971 in the United States Army. For his sacrifice of service, Jesse was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars.

During his service, Jesse connected with another soldier who told him that if they made it back home he planned to open his own trucking company and offered his fellow brother in arms the opportunity to join him. Jesse accepted that offer which led him to relocate to St. Louis, Mo. This venture nurtured his passion for travel and over the road driving. This dream of a fellow soldier became Jesse’s life and he went on to drive for the next 35 years.

While out enjoying his new life in the Show Me State with a friend, Jesse spotted a beautiful young St. Louis native sitting alone at a bar. He offered to buy her a drink, an offer that she refused 3 times before finally accepting. This interaction led to a courtship and he and that beautiful young St. Louis gal went on to share a life of love and happiness for nearly 40 years. 

A diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma prompted Jesse’s retirement from Jack Cooper Transport Company in 2012. Once again Jesse had been drafted; this time he would fight the biggest war of his life. Like the brave soldier he was, Jesse fought a good fight, often surprising doctors by winning battles they were sure the enemy had already won. After 7 years, Jesse’s true Commander-in-Chief stepped in and commended Jesse for his amazing fight and let him know that his war was now over. Jesse Charles Cooley was released from his final battle during the late hours of August 31, 2019, while home surrounded by family and friends. 

Those that knew and loved Jesse will have many fond memories of his love to sing, play the guitar, harmonica and keyboard. He had a love for antique cars which he enjoyed restoring and driving to antique car shows. If Jesse wasn’t sitting out in the garage enjoying the fruits of his labor, you could find him relaxing on the couch, many times crooning with guitar or harmonica in hand or sitting back and enjoying a good old western.

Jesse was a true, no-nonsense man that beamed with integrity and had a presence that demanded utmost respect. He was a man that many found to be a helping hand in times of need. Jesse was not a man of many words but if you had a conversation with him and didn’t learn something, you weren’t paying attention. 

Jesse was proceeded in death by both parents and 5 siblings. He is survived by his devoted and loving wife, Marcia Cooley; four siblings Deborah Wright Cooley, James A Cooley, Joel Cooley (Doris); Sandra Cooley Williams (Malcohm); two daughters, Twila Moss (Akron, OH) and Jessica Cooley; one son, James Tyler; four grandchildren and two great grandchildren as well as a host of extended family and friends.

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