Obituary of Jillayne Cooley
Jillayne “Jill” Cooley, nee Gist, age 86, of Waukesha passed away on February 11, 2023, at her home. Jill is survived by her children Kathryn Cooley Vogt, Deborah (Tim) Nehs, K. Michael Cooley and Brian (Sophia) Cooley. She is further survived by her grandchildren Sarah (Martin) Downer, Laura (Kyle) Clark, Christopher Nehs, Jessica (JJ) Markham, Bryn, Dallas, Cannon, Grayson, Cora (Brent) Mantzke, Delaney, Mariana, and K. Kyle, as well as her great-grandchildren Shade Leitner, Gloria Nehs, Elaine Downer, and Naomi Nehs. Jill was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Kenneth W. Cooley, her parents Leighton and Maurine Gist and her brother, John D. Gist. Jill was born in Denver, CO, January 16, 1937, and as a child, moved with her family to Wichita, KS. She graduated from Wichita East High School and briefly attended Phillips University in Enid, OK. Jill and Ken met while attending high school and were married at Hillside Christian Church in Wichita on August 26, 1956. As the family grew and Ken was pursuing his doctorate, they moved to Carbondale, IL, in the mid-1960’s. It was there Jill followed in her mother’s footsteps and began her career as a secretary working at the Easter Seals office in Carbondale. When Ken took a job with the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, the family moved to Waukesha in 1968. Once settled in town, Jill first worked as the secretary for Salem United Methodist Church and then became the secretary at Meadowbrook Elementary School where she remained until her retirement 20 years ago. Jill thoroughly enjoyed attending all of her children’s and grandchildren’s activities from concerts to plays to sports events and celebrating their accomplishments over the years. She had a special interest in lighthouses and you always knew that a birthday or Christmas present related to lighthouses would be a hit. Especially in her later years, Jill loved going on car rides (particularly to lighthouses!) and if she saw your car in the driveway, her first words were, “Are we going for a drive?”
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jill’s honor can be made to the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin (ASSEW). A Visitation for Jill will take place at Cesarz, Charapata, & Zinnecker Funeral Home (237 N. Moreland Blvd. Waukesha, WI 53188) on Friday, February 17, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a Funeral Service to follow at 12:00 p.m. following the service, Jill will be laid to rest next to Kenneth at Prairie Home Cemetery. Following the burial, all are invited back to the funeral home for a light reception in the community room.
If you wish to view a livestream of Jill's Funeral Service, CLICK HERE Shortly before 12:00 p.m. CST.
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Prairie Home Cemetery