Cover photo for Willie Mae Cooley's Obituary
Willie Mae Cooley Profile Photo
1934 Willie 2024

Willie Mae Cooley

February 18, 1934 — May 6, 2024

Indianapolis, Indiana

Willie Mae (Towe) Cooley passed away May 6, 2024, at the age of 90.  She was born on February 18, 1934, to the late Mildred (Hood) and Johnnie Towe, in Kentucky.  Her siblings are J.C. Towe, Alline Simpson, Charlene Carter, and Jerry Towe.  In 1952, she married the love of her life, Robert Cooley.  Together they had five children, Suzzette (Bill) Carter, David Cooley, Robert (Laura) Cooley, Jr., Donna (Dan) Graham, and James (Donita) Cooley.  Their family continued to grow with 8 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and 7 great-great grandchildren.  Willie was very involved in her community.  During her life she served as President of the PTA of Stephen Decatur, Decatur Jr. High, and Decatur Central High School.  She was a member of the Decatur Civic Council, a member of the first Decatur Township Fire Department Merit Board, and an original member of the Goodwin Community Center Board.  She started and served as President of Maywood Manor Neighborhood Association where she was instrumental in the start of Bel-Aire Park.  She organized and ran the Bel-Aire Gospel Fest and Car Show for over 10 years to raise funds for the park.  She was recognized by RTV6 and was awarded the RTV6 Leadership Award for her work on Bel-Aire Park.  She worked with the City of Indianapolis and Martin Marietta to have Bel-Aire Park become part of the Indianapolis Park System. She was a lifelong member of Delta Sigma Kappa Sorority.  Her work consisted of starting at Halcomb and Hoke before she married.  After making sure her family was taken care of and through school, she went back to work at Valley Mills Elementary running their Reading Lab.  She then decided to start her own business which was called Cooley’s Collectables by Willie.  There she used her artistic talent to paint and sell ceramics.  She won several awards for painting including a “Freddie”, the highest award in the hobby ceramics.   She considered one of her greatest community accomplishment the development of Bel-Aire Park.  She loved spending time with her family, grandchildren, and friends.  She loved to travel the United States and loved fishing.   Her greatest personal accomplishment was celebrating 71 years of marriage with her husband.  Besides her parents she was preceded in death by her two sisters and a grandson.  Visitation will be held on Friday, May 10, 2024, 4-8pm at Flanner Buchanan Decatur Township with her funeral service on Saturday, May 11, 2024, 10:30 am there.   She will be laid to rest at West Newton Cemetery following the service.  To sign the online guestbook and share your memories with the family please go to

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