E. Wayne Cooley
E. Wayne Cooley, the longtime Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Executive Secretary passed away May 11, 2013, at the age of 90. Dr. Cooley was born in Mercer, Missouri, on September 16, 1922 to Reverend O.E. and Lucy Mae Cooley. He spent his formative years in Coon Rapids, Iowa, and earned a collegiate degree from Buena Vista University. He later received honorary doctorates from Morningside College and Buena Vista University.
While a commissioned naval officer during World War II, he met Gertrude "Gerry" Konkol in 1944, and both returned to Iowa where he coached track and football at Nevada High School. They had two children, Craig and Denise. The family then moved to Grinnell in 1950 where Cooley served as an instructor for one year at Grinnell College and then served as assistant to the President of the College for three years.
In 1954, Cooley accepted the assignment as Executive Secretary of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, which had only one inter-scholastic activity at the time, basketball. In the following 48 years, under Cooley's leadership, the organization expanded to nine sports.
In addition to his IGHSAU duties, Cooley also served as the Executive Vice President of the Iowa High School Speech Association, a position he held from 1963 to his retirement in 2002.
After his wife Gerry's death in 1982, Cooley married Wendy Wykoff in 1987.
Dr. Cooley was active in many other endeavors, both in athletics and in the community. He was a long standing member of the Drake Relays Executive Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of the Women's College Basketball Hall of Fame, a Director for three banking institutions, the Buena Vista College Board of Trustees and his family church. He also served as vice chairman for the Iowa Games and was Chairman of the Iowa Heart Association.
Cooley served as National President of the United States Track and Field Federation, and was a major leader in resolving two decades of conflict over control of the nation's amateur track and field administration by successfully merging the two parties into the Athletics Congress of the United States. For his efforts, he was inducted into the United States Track and Field Federation's Hall of Fame as well as into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dr. Cooley is survived by wife, Wendy; son, Craig (Elizabeth) of Prescott, AZ; daughter, Denise (Roger) Brode of Schaumburg, IL; grandchildren, Amanda and Andrew; his sister, Rosalee Johnson of Waterloo.
A memorial service will be held at Grace United Methodist Church at 3700 Cottage Grove Avenue, Des Moines, IA, 50311 at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 14, 2013. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Grace United Methodist Church or Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA.
Published in Des Moines Register on May 13, 2013