Mandy is survived in the hearts and minds of those she loved and cared for. She lived with purposeful existence and an unapologetic pursuit of happiness. A lifelong artist, she brought her family together through virtual art lessons that she led with her sisters, Julie, Ruby, JoAnn, and Charlie, as well as with her granddaughter, Harmony. One of Mandy’s greatest joys in life was time spent with Harmony. Mandy’s love, generosity, and inspiration ensured that Harmony followed in her grandmother’s footsteps in several ways. Mandy arranged for Harmony to learn how to ride horses, a passion of Mandy’s dating back to her childhood spent on the family ranch. She was particularly fond of the memories of the time she spent riding horses with her sister, Julie, when they were children. Mandy also arranged for Harmony to study oceanography in a hands-on summer camp, as well as various other activities ranging from archery to zoology. Mandy spoke with Harmony regularly, almost every call starting with Mandy asking if Harmony (age 10) had her coffee yet (another shared interest).
Mandy’s art touched her family in nearly every aspect of their lives. Her handmade/hand-painted birthday cards and custom photograph collages are priceless to all who received them. Mandy’s style of watercolor with pen was unique to her, reflecting her enthusiastic imagination and embodying a lifetime of study of her craft.
Mandy will be remembered for her forthright ways, including marrying the man she loved, Ed, not once but twice, and not apologizing for following her heart no matter how unorthodox the path. Mandy and Ed had two children together, Samantha and Justin, and Mandy adored them both. She was a devoted, loving mother that always put her children first. For instance, when she moved from her home in Denver to Phoenix to advance her career with HUD in the federal government, Mandy slept on the couch in the apartment she shared with her two children so they could have bedrooms. The sacrifices she made for her children, as well as nieces and nephew, and granddaughter, were significant and noble.
Mandy was the first in her family to graduate college in 1970 from the University of Northern Colorado. After graduating from college with a degree in fine arts, Mandy student taught at I.C. Ranum High School – where she was a member of the first graduating class and where her 3 younger sisters were still students. One of her favorite stories was about seeing one of her sisters (who will not be named) ditching school by running across campus and jumping into her boyfriend’s car. Mandy’s teaching career was short lived as she decided to pursue a career in business.
Mandy’s impressive career started with field research for an oil company where she excelled as one of the only women in a male-dominated industry. Her strength and intelligence ensured success against the odds, ultimately leading her to a management level position with HUD. It was at HUD that Mandy found a professional home, and her exemplary work led to the federal government issuing awards to Mandy for decades of faithful and excellent service. After Mandy retired, she devoted substantial time to supporting and volunteering for the Rosie the Riveter organization that her mother, Wilma Rees, was an active participant in due to her work as a Riveter at Boeing during World War II. Mandy was a dedicated daughter to Wilma and always admired her work as a Rosie during that important time in history.
Mandy will be remembered for her huge heart, especially with respect to her family and friends. Mandy’s extensive family includes sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and their respective children. Mandy was an anchor for the entire family, ensuring connections were maintained and cultivating personal relationships with everyone. Mandy was especially close to her nephews, Aaron, Will, Jon, and Zach; her niece, Chrissy; and their respective children, Cade, Quin, Camber, Cruise, Juliette, and Lila.
Mandy kept up to date about all their lives, providing regular updates to the entire family. For years Mandy also produced the family calendar. She was always heard saying: “for the calendar” when taking photos. These calendars were not the only way to see how our large family was doing no matter where they were in the world and preserve our history.
Mandy had many friends and would tell anyone who would listen about their lives and families. Mandy will be remembered for being an inspiration for those not sure how to keep in touch with family and friends across the street or across oceans.
Mandy loved to travel, especially with her dear friend Linda Blitstein. Mandy and Linda were the world travelers visiting Brazil (despite travel warnings). Honduras, Hong Kong, and Paris (her personal favorite). She regularly visited her son, Justin, daughter-in-law, Melanie, and granddaughter, Harmony, in Southern California. Mandy loved the beach and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her family watching the waves, strolling along the boardwalk, or sharing a meal on the water’s edge. Watching Harmony play in the sand was one of her favorite past times.
Though she now looks on from another place with all her pets, friends, family and a forever-iced coffee, Mandy will be remembered.
Mandy is survived by husband Edward Cooley (Surprise, AZ), daughter Samantha Cooley (Phoenix, AZ), son Justin Cooley (Rancho, Santa Margarita, CA) Daughter-in-Law, Melanie McKeddie, and granddaughter, Harmony Cooley.
Sisters Julie Cooley (Durango, CO), Ruby (Alan McDonald) Mason (Mossy Point, NSW, AUS), Charlie (Mark) Shafton (Buckeye, AZ), and Jo Ann (Mark) Fisher (Wheat Ridge, CO) and brother Jim (Pat C. Coleman) Rees (Denver, CO). stepsister, Pam Donner (Scottsdale, AZ), and stepbrother Aaron Donner (Douglas, WY)
Nephews Jon Cooley, Robbie Ress (Cathy) Mrytle Beach, SC), Zach (Megan Scully) Cooley (Durango, CO), Arron (Chase McCutchen) Fisher (Buena Vista, CO), and Will (Sophie Buckman) Fisher.
Niece Chrissy (Hector) Hernadez (Oakland, CA)
Great-Nephews’, whom Aunt Mandy considered her grandsons and spent lots of time with whenever she could, Cade, and Quin sons of Jon Cooley.
Great Nieces’ Anna-Faye, Lillian and Claire Rees, daughters of Robbie Rees, Camber & Cruise, daughters of Zach Cooley, Lila & Juliet. daughters of Chrissy Hernandez
And her wonderful cousins and second cousins and even third cousins all which Mandy made sure to connect with often.
An open house party for Mandy’s will be October 7th from 1-6 PM at the home of Sam Cooley (daughter) and Jon Cooley (nephew). The address is 3033 N 17th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85015.