On Friday, April 26, 2019, Donald Lankford Cooley of Abilene, TX went home to be with his Lord and Savior at the age of 80.
A visitation will be held Friday, May 3, 2019 from 6 to 8 PM at Elmwood Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 10 AM at Elmwood Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Elmwood Memorial Park.
Donald was born on August the 9th, 1938 to Dock Lankford and Reba Victoria (Garner) Cooley. His early childhood was spent on a farm tending to the family animals and crops at the Radford Ranch in Hodges, TX. Donald first went to the gas plants when he was very young with his dad, due to today's regulations, this would never happen. But Dock taught him many things at the plant that sparked a career of working with his hands. Donald graduated from Hawley High School in 1956.
Donald met Saundra in Abilene, TX, on May 29th, 1959 which was the beginning of a blessed marriage that lasted for 59 years. They were married in Abilene on March 5th, 1960, raised three daughters, Regina, Donna and Christy, in a Christian home here in Abilene. Anyone who knew Donald, knew by the example he lived that he was a Christian and put God first, then Family and Country.
Donald went on to work in the Texas oilfield, first in gas plants including Union Petroleum Gas, Shamrock Oil and Gas, and later building drilling rig components in a welding shop which he also built. Donald had many jobs which included the United States Army Presidential Honor Guard at Ft Meyer in Washington D.C., Lone Star Gas, City of Abilene Fire Department, John Davis Welding (his father-in-law) and Cooley's Oilfield Welding. Donald went on to retire from the City of Abilene as Assistant Supervisor for the Traffic Department, he also drove a special needs school bus for Merkel Independent School District, and finally owned his own semi and hauled gravel for Statewide Trucking to the wind farms of Texas. Donald was a man of many trades all with just a High School education but always provided well for his family.
Donald had the privilege of marching in President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Parade in 1961. His time in the Honor Guard was very special to him as he served at the pleasure of the President of the United States. After working in many different areas, John Davis (his father-in-law) at Davis Welding taught Donald all he knew about welding and running a successful welding shop. Donald eventually bought Mr. Davis' shop and it became Cooley's Oilfield Welding. Donald was well respected for his work ethic and contracted with very large companies in the oilfield, some deals being agreed upon with a handshake.
Something Donald enjoyed doing was collecting many things and some of his favorite "stuff" he collected included: old coins, Texaco Die-Cast Collectible Trucks, parts for a red and a blue 66 Ford Mustang and all the parts for a 1940 Model Ford Truck. Donald traveled all over the Texas, Oklahoma and the Louisiana landscape searching for these parts, but his favorite thing was the time spent with his daughters on those trips.
Donald was proceeded in death by his parents Dock and Reba Cooley, brother Troy Cooley, and son-in-law Will Jackson.
Donald is survived by his wife Saundra Sue (Davis) Cooley, daughters Regina (Cooley) Wheat married to Bruce of Abilene, Donna (Cooley) Puckett married to Joe of Lubbock, and Christy (Cooley) Jackson of Ft Worth. Donald was affectionately known as "Pap" to his loving grandchildren, *Shane Wheat and wife Jessi of Houston, TX, AmyKaye (Wheat) Young and husband *Judson of Ft Worth, TX, Jessica Puckett and fiance *Matt Bowen of Ft Worth, TX, *Jacob Puckett and wife Kaitlin of Santa Fe, NM, Jackie (Puckett) Willis and husband *Andy of Morton, TX, *Josh Puckett and wife Morgan of Brownfield, TX, *Trey Jackson and *John Jackson both of Ft Worth, TX, 7 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, sister-in-law Joan (Davis) Godfrey and husband Bo from Elgin, TX, and sister-in-law Judy (Isbell) Cooley from Red Oak, TX.
A special thank you to the all the incredible professionals at Northern Oaks Nursing Home, Hendrick Hospice Care, Big Country Urology, Dr. Jo-Ellyn Ryali, and Dr. Al Sayyad.