Wooley, Robert Earl
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75, of Laveen, AZ passed away on December 14, 2013. Earl was a proud native Arizonan, born to Martha Lou Wooley-Griffin and Homer Wooley at 121 East 7th Street in Tempe, AZ on September 28, 1938. In his youth Earl was raised on the Cold Springs Ranch near Pine, AZ. His father Homer moved the family to Tonopah near Buckeye, AZ in the 1950's where they farmed. While enrolled at Buckeye Union High School, Earl's 1955 baseball and 1956 football teams were Arizona State Champions. Upon graduation, Earl attended Arizona State University and subsequently enlisted in the Air Force National Guard serving in Europe in the volatile early 1960's. With his military aircraft mechanic and inspector training, he went on to work for over 40 years in the airline industry for many companies including Lockheed, Hughes AirWest, and America West. His greatest gift received was the love of a wonderful woman, his high school sweetheart, Willie Pittman, who took his name (Willie Wooley) for 53 years. Earl and Willie raised two sons Chris and Phillip who are fourth generation Arizonans now serving the Phoenix high school academic and medical education communities. The Wooley family lived in the Maryvale community of west Phoenix. Earl served Maryvale in many ways but most notably as a coach and administrator for the Zito Little League organization and West Central Pop Warner Association. Earl mentored countless athletes who still know him simply as "Coach Wooley." Earl retired and moved to Laveen in 2003 where he volunteered as Block Watch Director for the Police Neighborhood Patrol in the Bouganvilla community. In addition to his wife and sons Earl is survived by three grandchildren, Cody Quinton Wooley, Ty Cole Beechy Wooley, Brett Christopher Wooley and, sisters Barbara Saxon, Helen Elliott, Carol Gorrell, brothers Bill Griffin, and Brad Griffin, daughter-in-laws Nancy Velasco Wooley, Rachelle Webb Wooley, and countless wonderful and loving friends. He was proceeded in death by his mother Martha, father Homer, and step father Quinton Griffin. A memorial service will be held at 12:00pm on Friday, December 20th at the Buckeye Community Church, 810 E Eason Ave, Buckeye, AZ 85326. In lieu of flowers, the Earl Wooley Aviation Scholarship is being initiated for selected graduating seniors at Buckeye Union High School. More information will be available at the service.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 18, 2013