Neil Cooksey

  • "my prayers go out to the family having known neil in..."
    - jerry scheer
  • " Sending love your way and praying for you all...may God..."
    - Amber Hallam
  • "Allyson - My thoughts and prayers remain with you daily. ..."
    - Sally Stewart-Compton
  • "I am very sad to hear of Neil's passing. Some of my fondest..."
    - Chuck Coleman
  • "I was so sad to learn today of Neil's passing. We..."
    - Sharon McConnell

Neil Cooksey, Sr. CHARLOTTE - Neil Cooksey, Sr., born on July 25, 1961 passed away on October 10, 2012 after an extended struggle with pancreatic cancer and its complications. Born to Arthur H. & Margery Cooksey, Neil Cooksey's life bore witness to a set of core values that were a major part of who he was: care for his family and fellow man, hard work, discernment, dedication, faithfulness and service. Neil had a gentle way with people, which made it easy for him to work with everyone he encountered. His intellectual and social interests led Neil through some adventurous formative years in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, during which he sought to satisfy his inquisitive nature. These interests led him to North Carolina, where Neil graduated from Davidson College in 1983 with an A.B. Cum Laude Degree in Political Science. Neil traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe during these years, holding internships in the U.S Department of Commerce, Foreign Commercial Service. Neil went on to attend the University of Michigan Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate, solidifying his commitment to career and public service. His ties to Davidson College would bring Neil back to N.C. and to the chance to meet the love of his life, Allyson McWhirter, a native of Charlotte. They entered into a marriage that endured for 25 years, including the births of their three wonderful children: Abigail Banner, Anna Nichols and Neil Charles "Charlie" Cooksey, Jr. Important interests in Neil's life often led him to the outdoors with family and friends. An avid hunter and hiker, Neil considered nature God's manifestation of His glory here on earth, which instilled in Neil a correspondent duty to become a good steward of the land. This led to his and Allyson's decision to donate the development rights of the family farm near Grandfather Mountain to the High Country Conservancy, preserving the property for future generations. His commitment to present and future generations was also expressed in Neil's service to the Boy Scouts of America, Y-Guides, the Seigle Avenue Preschool Cooperative and the United Way. His service to Carmel Presbyterian Church also was deep and abiding, and provided much strength to him and his family throughout his illness. Neil always believed in the importance of citizen engagement in politics that every citizen has a duty to affect public policy for the better. He fulfilled that call by running for political office in 2008, when he ran for and won an open seat on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of County Commission. Neil answered this call again in 2010, winning reelection to his District 5 seat. Like everything he did, his public service was characterized by the core values that were the cornerstone of his life. As a result, his service on the County Commission was often characterized by the press and his peers as reflecting a "voice of reason" and just plain common sense. The resiliency which characterized Neil's approach to life's opportunities was reflected in his battle with pancreatic cancer and associated challenges since his initial diagnosis in February 2010. After the initial operation, Neil became determined not to confine himself to conventional medical wisdom or timelines. Neil fought the illness with vigor and was a role model for living a full life while beating the statistical odds. Neil's recent battles were bolstered by the love and support he received from his family, who all grew tremendously through this experience and who contributed to his wellbeing immensely. Together, they all made these past years some of the most joyous of his life. Surviving are his wife Allyson McWhirter Cooksey; his three children Abigail Banner, Anna Nichols and Neil Charles "Charlie" Cooksey, Jr.; his father and mother, Arthur and Margery Cooksey; his brothers Buzz and Greg and their families, among many other close family members. A memorial service in honor of Neil Cooksey will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Carmel Presbyterian Church with the Reverend Jim Szeyller officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the church fellowship hall. Interment will be private. The family would like to thank Dr. David Iannitti and Dr. John Martinie, whose surgical expertise allowed us to share another 3 years together. Dr. Sarah Lantz, who embodies the grace and spirit for which all medical staff should strive. Dr. Reza Nazemzadeh, who made the transition from medical care provider to friend with effortless grace. Also, there will never be adequate words of appreciation to the angelic staff of Levine Dickson Hospice House. Our gratitude goes out to Dr. Janet Crook and the kindest and most dedicated team of Registered Nurses, CNA's, social workers, counselors, chaplains, volunteers and support staff. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be directed towards Levine Dickson Hospice House: 11900 Vanstory Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078. Condolences may be offered at

Published in Charlotte Observer on Oct. 12, 2012
Neil Charles Cooksey
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Arrangements under the direction of:
Harry & Bryant Funeral Home
500 Providence Road | Charlotte, NC 28207 | (704) 332-7133
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