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Gary L. Cooley

June 9, 1952 ~ March 10, 2019 (age 66)

Gary L. Cooley, 66, Kokomo, passed away at 1:07 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Community Howard Regional Hospital in Kokomo.  He was born June 9, 1952, in Otsego, Michigan, to Chester and Elaine (Hayes) Cooley.  On June 15, 2000, he married the love of his life, Kay Harrington, and she survives.

Directly out of high school, Gary served four years in the United States Air Force and held great pride and love for his country throughout his life.  He eventually found a deep passion for working in life insurance sales.  For 25 years he carried that passion before retiring in 2014 from Monumental, where he earned many awards as well as trips due to his dedication.  That same passion and dedication led to him becoming branch manager of the Kokomo office, and he guided his team and office to the number one status in the entire company.  He also opened a Children’s Palace store in Memphis and was currently working as an outstanding salesman at Ashley Furniture in Kokomo.

Besides his work, Gary also enjoyed multiple activities, including collecting anything pertaining to the Civil War, but his favorite was doing yardwork and planting flowers.  He was a kind, loving and caring man that seemed to have a magnetism that pulled people to him.  He was liked, loved and will be greatly missed by many.

In addition to his wife, Kay Cooley, he is survived by his children, Brian (Teresa) Howard, Chrissy (James) VanMeter, Shannon Howard (fiancé Eric Densmore), Dustin Howard (Cindi Metzinger), and Jennifer (Dave) Cummings; the highlight of his world, his grandchildren, Christopher Howard, Cody VanMeter, Carley VanMeter, Jeordan Howard, Jace Howard, Mikayla Kyker and Emma Ramos; siblings, Bob (Linda) Cooley, Deb (Jim) Nimmer, and Ann Cooley (Pat Naquin); many nieces and nephews; best friend, Wayne Mattice; and his beloved dog, Abby.

He was preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Cory VanMeter; and his dog, Ladybug.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory, 1315 W. Lincoln Rd., Kokomo, with Pastor Paul Sutherland officiating.  Military honors will be provided by the United States Air Force and the Kokomo VFW Military Rites Team.  Friends are invited to visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.  Contributions may be made in Gary’s memory to the Autism Society.  Messages of condolence can be left online at

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