Harold Alfred Cooley  1 Nov 1909 - 22 Aug 1999

Lilly Belle Cooley 13 Nov 1913 - 1 May 2000

I can’t remember the first time that Dad took me into the back of the Glendale Rexall Drug Store to take a few minutes to stand around and talk with Harold Cooley. I do know that as I grew up I always felt very welcome to drop by the drug store and sit at the soda fountain bar and have a "real" coke made with syrup and carbonate water or alternatively to go into the back of the store and sit around and talk with some of the deacons of the time. I can remember many times finding Ralph Place, Don Blakely and many others back there talking about a myriad of subjects.

Harold Cooley came to Glendale in the mid 1940’s. He went to school at the University of Oregon before joining the Army during World War II as an Officer where he served in Military Police units. After his discharge he continued his involvement by joining the Army Reserves in Medford and for many years he would travel there once a month to drill and then in the Summer he would go away somewhere in the world for a couple of weeks for his training. He moved up in rank and eventually retired from that endeavor.  Harold was a member of the Presbyterian Church, also of the Elks Lodge, the Masons, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Odd Fellows.

            But Harold and, his wife Lilly Belle, gave to the community in other ways. For many years Harold was a member of the school board in Glendale and eventually, I believe, assumed stewardship positions at the County and State level. For her part Lilly Belle taught Grade School (she was Shorty Clayton's 2nd Grade teacher in 1943) and after she married Harold she became a substitute school teacher.  I recall her being my teacher a day here and there throughout my years in both Grade and High School.  She was also an accomplished pianist which was probably the reason that music was one of her favorite subjects.

Dad started working for Harold around the Drug Store when I was fairly small. He would do small remodeling jobs that Harold needed such as installing shelves or when Harold expanded the pharmacy into the room next door to the drug store for a while Dad cut the opening for the counter. So my closeness to Harold was probably the reason, while in high school, I asked him about buying stock. Over the years we had many conversations about this subject and I learned a great deal from him.

Harold once told me that the way he got into the Drug Store business was that he was walking down the street when he first got to Glendale he was thinking of opening a grocery store and he had talked with someone that spoke with Mr. Lassen. It wasn’t long before Mr. Lassen saw Harold on the street and suggested to him that what Glendale really needed was a Drug Store. That’s how Harold ended up in that business which he operated for more than 50 years. Dad always used to chuckle about how Harold did so much of his business out of his wallet. He used to tell him that he wished he had just a fraction of the money that went through Harold’s wallet and both of them would laugh. Harold also provided a great deal of goods on credit and over the years I’m sure he had many accounts that went unpaid. It always seemed that he would address each case on its own merit and carry many folks for as long as he could.

I’m also familiar with other examples where Harold used his own judgment rather than a strict ‘by-the-book’ formula. I once wanted to make some rocket fuel for some model rockets that I was building. Once of the ingredients was Potassium Nitrate or Salt Peter. I have no idea whether it was a controlled substance at the time but I had no qualms about asking Harold to order some for me which he readily did. I’m familiar with another case where a classmate wanted to do an experiment for class where she gave sleeping pills to a rat and recorded his actions. In current times it would never have happened but based upon mutual understanding and trust the experiment was a success.

For many years Harold and Lilly Belle lived in town on the corner on the steep climb toward the city reservoir and for many years he drove the same yellow Ford truck. That truck was saved for the present and future when he sold it to Jim Allen. And a few decades ago Harold and Lilly Belle moved to the old junction. 

On the right is a photo taken in April 1993 in front of their home.  Harold went into the real estate business with Don Blakely with their office in the old Bates Grocery. This was not surprising because Harold had bought real estate around Glendale for many years including the Post Office in Glendale and also Shady Grove. But it was funny to see Harold and Don sitting in their office because there was still a place for some of the elderly statesmen and stateswomen of Glendale to continue to talk about life and times. 

Harold and Lilly Belle continued to travel including a trip down the Mississippi River on a riverboat. They were also faithful about attending the Oregon class reunions for many years.

As times change and Harold has passed away along with many of those folks that used to join him in the back of the store for a chat we can’t help but wish for their return just once more to say 'thank you and goodbye’.

Lee Dixon

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(Music is "The White Cliffs of Dover" which was popular during WWII)