Dr. Kenneth Wilson Cooley
March 24, 1936 - Feb. 13, 2018
Dr. Kenneth Wilson Cooley of Waukesha passed away peacefully on February 13,
2018. Ken was born March 24, 1936, in Kansas City, Mo., to Dallas Wilson and
Margaret Louise Cooley (nee Gulick).
Ken graduated from Wichita East High School in 1954 and received his
bachelor's degree at Phillips University in 1959. He also earned a master's
degree at Wichita State University in 1965, followed by his doctorate at
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Ken and Jill (nee Gist) were
married August 26, 1956, and made their first home in Enid, Okla., while
attending college. After serving as pastor at a small country church in
Benton, Kan., Ken chose to return to school. As his family grew and his
education continued, they moved to Wichita, Kan., then Carbondale, Ill.,
coming to Waukesha in 1968, when Ken took a position at UW-Waukesha as a
professor of philosophy. Over the years, he chaired the City of Waukeshašs
Ethics Committee, was the chairman of the board for Pilgrim Christian
Church, and was instrumental in the early development of the Food Pantry of
Waukesha County, where he served as president from 1975 to 1989; he also
served on the board of UW-Waukesha Foundation, and was a member of American
Association of University Professors. Although Ken retired from UW-Waukesha
in 2002, gaining emeritus status, he continued to teach his children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren about life and learning. He and Jill
loved nothing more than to support their large, extended family in all their
various activities and endeavors.
Ken is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Jill, and his children
Kathryn, Deborah (Tim) Nehs, Michael and Brian (Sophia). He is further
survived by his beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Sarah, Laura,
Christopher, Jessica, Bryn, Dallas, Cannon, Grayson, Cora, Delaney, Mariana,
Kyle, Shade and Gloria. He will be missed by his brother Norman and sister
The visitation for Ken will be held from 1 p.m. until the time of the
memorial service at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at Cesarz, Charapata &
Zinnecker Funeral Home, 237 Moreland Blvd. The Rev. Christian Boyd will be
officiating. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, Ken requested memorials to the Autism Society of
Southeast Wisconsin, 3720 N 124th St., Suite O, Wauwatosa, WI 53222; or the
UW-Waukesha Foundation, 1500 N. University Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188.
Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation and Pre-Planning
Services is serving the family. For further information, please call
262-542-6609, or for directions, an online obituary, or to leave a
condolence, please visit www.WaukeshasFuneralHome.com.