Cooley, Raleigh M.
Raleigh M. Cooley, 90, of Hillsville, passed away on Sunday, September 14, 2014, at Wheatland Hills Hillsville. Mr. Cooley was born in Carroll County on October 24, 1923, to the late Alva Edison and Mary McGlothlin Cooley. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his wife, Marguerite Cooley; brother, George B. Cooley, Sr.; and sister, Ellen Bernatz. Survivors include two nephews, Paul Bernatz of Arizona and George B. Cooley, Jr., of Hillsville; brother-in-law, Kenneth Bernatz, of Arizona; special cousin, Jerry Cooley, of Florida; and a host of cousins, friends, colleagues, and Law Firm family. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014, at Vaughan-Guynn-McGrady Chapel with Pastor Amanda Hatfield Moore officiating. Burial will follow in the North End Cemetery.Masonic Rites will be conducted by the Hillsville Masonic Lodge #193 AF & AM. Eastern Star services will be conducted by the Hillsville Chapter #71 Order of the Eastern Star, and Military Rites will be conducted at the graveside by the Hillsville V.F.W. Post 1115. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6 p.m.to 8 p.m.on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Flowers are appreciated or you may make a donation in Raleigh's memory to one of the following: Hillsville Christian Church, 120 Edgewood Drive, Hillsville, VA 24343; or Hillsville Lions Club, P. O. Box 122, Hillsville, VA 24343. Raleigh was a member of the Hillsville Drum and Bugle Corps, which amongst other things competed nationally in Denver, Colorado, in September 1936, finishing in fifth place.He graduated from Hillsville High School on June 3, 1941, and entered the College of William and Mary in September 1942.He was drafted into the Navy in April 1943 and served for almost three years, over two of which was aboard the U.S.S. Halford (DD480) in the western Pacific.He returned to William and Mary after the War, receiving an AB Degree in 1949 and a Law Degree in June 1951.He started his law practice on June 15, 1951, on the back of his father's desk, with offices in the Carroll County Courthouse. Raleigh loved Carroll County.He was a member of the Carroll Industrial Land Corporation, Reed Island Development Corporation and Hillsville Development Corporation.These corporations served as the vehicle for most of the industry that came to Hillsville and Carroll County during the 1960's and 1970's. Raleigh served as Mayor of Hillsville from 1958 until 1978.He had the longest tenure of any mayor to date and is credited with a great deal of the success in the Town's industrial growth and public service facilities. He was one of the founders of the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Chamber of Commerce and helped organize the Galax Savings and Loan Association, the forerunner of Mountain National Bank.He was a founding Director of the Bank of Carroll and served as Chairman of the Board as long as it was known as the Bank of Carroll. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Piedmont BankGroup, Inc., in February 1992, serving approximately six years. He has been a member of the Hillsville Lions Club since 1951 and received the Melvin Jones Fellow award in 1995.He was a member of Hillsville Masonic Lodge #193 AF & AM; Hillsville Chapter #71, Order of the Eastern Star; Scottish Rites & Kazim Temple; life member of the Grover King Post No. 1115, V.F.W.; and former member of the Post No. 145 (Galax) American Legion.He was one of the founding members of the Twin County Airport Commission and served as Secretary from 1965 to 1991.He was an avid pilot and had a great sense of pride in the continuing development and expansion of the Twin County Regional Airport. He was a member of the Hillsville Christian Church.He served as President of the Blue Ridge District of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society and served on the State Board of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society, serving one term as its Vice-President. Dwight Compton joined Raleigh in August 1978.At that time, Dwight had already passed the North Carolina Bar.Shortly after passing the Virginia Bar in 1979, Raleigh and Dwight formed their partnership, which makes it the longest law partnership in the 27th Judicial Circuit. Raleigh touched many lives during his lifetime and years of law practice. He was a true gentleman and his kind and loving nature will long be remembered. A guestbook is available online by visiting www.vaughanguynnandmcgrady.com. Vaughan-Guynn-McGrady is serving the family.