Melson's Funeral Services - Ocean View
38040 Muddy Neck Road
Ocean View, DE 19970
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Ralph A. "Spade" Cooley

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Ralph A. "Spade" Cooley Obituary

Ralph A. Cooley

AGE: 87 • Dagsboro

Ralph "Spade" Cooley, age 87 of Dagsboro, DE formerly of Gaithersburg, MD passed away Tuesday, August 9, 2016 at Atlantic Genera Hospital in Berlin, MD. He was an extraordinary, ordinary man of quiet courage, friendly humor, and everlasting faith. He grew up in rural East Texas. He had a well-defined work ethic. Ways of making a living as a young man included hauling ice, taking tickets at a movie theater, and pulling root beer floats at a local drug store. He joined the Navy at age seventeen. During his second tour, he volunteered to be on the first crew of the nuclear submarine, the Nautilus, where he served as an electrician.

He earned his Master's degree in mathematics from Texas A&M University Commerce. He went on to a career in the Nuclear Energy field where he became an engineer eventually giving certification exams to operators of nuclear power plants across the country for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

He and his wife Clarice retired to the Eastern Shore in Dagsboro, Delaware in 1990. Their love of nature was nurtured by their life in the piney woods of Blackwater Village. He never met a stranger he didn't like. No matter if he was on the golf course, in a grocery store, or playin' the slots, people wanted to engage with him. He loved movies. Westerns were his favorite and John Wayne played characters that resonated most.

Spade took charge of everything in his life, including the very final moments. He wanted to be buried with his cowboy boots on.

Mr. Cooley is preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Clarice. He is survived by his 5 children, Karen Cooley of Bakersfield, CA, Ralph Cooley and his wife Susan Edmunson of Los Angeles, CA, Sandy Longman and her husband Phil of Washington, DC, Lisa Pluchino of Dagsboro, DE and Tina Schrider and her husband Phil of Eden, MD; nine grandchildren, Michael Prince, Amanda Carr, Nicole Pluchino, Vicky Shockley, Joseph , Alex, and Jack Schrider, Lessie Kauzlarich and Sam Longman; nine great grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, August 15, 2016 at 11:00 am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 35318 Church Rd, Frankford, DE 19945. A viewing will be held on Sunday, August 14, 2016 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in the Ocean View chapel of Melson Funeral Services, 38040 Muddy Neck Road, Ocean View, DE 19970. Interment will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro, DE.

In lieu of flowers please donate in Mr. Cooley's name to Atlantic General Hospital, 9733 Healthway Dr, Berlin, MD 21811,

Online condolences may be sent by visiting
Published in The News Journal on Aug. 12, 2016
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