Dolores Ann Cooley

September 13, 1934 ~ June 15, 2020 (age 85)


Dolores Worthington Cooley, 85, of Signal Mountain. “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Monday morning, June 15, 2020, was a day of great rejoicing for Dolores as she moved peacefully to her heavenly home with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dolores was born September 13, 1934, growing up in North Chattanooga and attending Chattanooga High School. In her early years, she worked at the Chattanooga Medicine Company. Blessed with tremendous God-given talent for singing, she studied with renowned voice teacher, Doris Doe. While singing in the choir at Northside Baptist Church, she met and fell in love with the music director, Jim Cooley. After losing her father when she was in her early twenties, Dolores was faced with a monumental decision to either marry Jim, or to head to New York City to pursue a career with the Metropolitan Opera. She and Jim were married on April 27, 1958 and together, they had three children, Jimmy, Johnny and Chrissi. Dolores’ singing continued to blossom and in 1968, she was hired as the soprano soloist at First Presbyterian Church by Dr. Glenn Draper and helped form the foundation that was laid for one of the premier church choral programs in America. Dolores and Jim faithfully served the Lord in numerous revival meetings in this area. In addition to her time at First Presbyterian, she holds dear to her heart the time and life-long friendships that were developed in the music ministries at Signal Mountain Baptist and East Lake Baptist Church. Dolores sang with excellence and conviction, this lady believed in what she sang ~ The Transforming power of Almighty God! Dolores was the featured soloist for the popular radio program, “Hymns for Sunday Morning”, a music ministry by the Cooley-Reeve family. In the early 1970’s, Dolores recorded two sacred albums, the second of which was recorded at the Bill Gaither Studios, in Alexandria, IN with orchestration by noted arranger, Ronn Huff. Dolores was frequently invited to sing and share her testimony for churches and Christian Women’s Clubs. One of the more memorable invitations was to the Christian Women’s Club of West Palm Beach, FL; where she was the second choice after Perry Como was unable to attend due to a conflict. That day at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, she shared the platform with guest speaker Julie Nixon Eisenhower with Dolores providing the music. God was very faithful to bless this lady with her witness for Jesus Christ after her decision to not pursue the bright lights of New York City. In addition to church music, Dolores’ talents were also on display with the Chattanooga Opera Association, Chattanooga Little Theatre, Backstage Theater and the Signal Mountain Playhouse. All of this activity and she still found energy to raise three children and work in the family business at Cooley’s Fine Clothing in Red Bank. During her adult years, Dolores transformed from a shy introvert to a beautiful, charismatic, loving lady who brought joy and happiness to those she came in contact with. Dolores was a Light and that Light came from The Light of Christ. Dolores so loved living on Signal Mountain, where she lived since 1964. She always took great joy in making holidays special with egg baskets at Easter, festive decorations at Christmas, making sure those in need were always included at our Thanksgiving table and on New Year’s Day, enjoying the Rose Parade, football bowl games and fellowship around the fireplace. Her life on the mountain gave inspiration to one of her favorite scripture passages; “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and earth”, Psalm 121:1. Mom had many talents, but what she did best was love her family ~ with singing, great food, laughter, tears, a listening heart and always, a warm, accepting heart. Over the last seven years, Dolores faced several health challenges and the loss of her beloved son, Johnny. It was during these days of grief and uncertainty, where Christ’s presence became such a comfort and strength to her soul. Fortified with a deep knowledge of God’s word from years of studying scripture, her faith was anchored to the Solid Rock. She met the many health challenges in her last years of life with strength and a positive joyful spirit ~ always believing and trusting in God’s goodness and plan for her life. She was an encouragement to so many, especially to her family. One of the most meaningful and treasured roles of mother’s time on stage was that of Mother Superior in the legendary musical, “The Sound of Music”. As this great lady takes her final curtain call, these words ring so true; “Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow ‘til you find your dream”. Dolores Cooley found and lived her dream ~ To God Be The Glory! Mother, we love you, we miss you deeply, you are simply the BEST! Dolores was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James Hillyer Cooley; her son, John McConnel Cooley; and her sister, Bonnie Mae Worthington. She is survived by her children, James (Jimmy) Hillyer Cooley, Jr. (Janie), and Christine (Chrissi) Cooley Vieth (George); sister, Judy Worthington Dautrich; nieces, Janet Anne Reeve, Jane Reeve Hosemann, Lisa Dautrich Adcock (Bob), and Lori Dautrich Dillard. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the all the staff at Alexian Village on Signal Mountain who provided such excellent and loving care for our mother. Also, our gratitude goes to Sterling Anderson who was not only an excellent caregiver, but a friend who brought sunshine into mom’s room every time she entered it. The family will have a private graveside service. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Bryan College, James Cooley Scholarship Fund, Dayton, TN 37321. Orange Grove Center, Chattanooga, TN, The Alexian Village Christmas Fund, on Signal Mountain or a church or charity of your choosing. Arrangements entrusted to Lane Funeral Home ~ Ashland Terrace, 601 Ashland Terrace Chattanooga, Tennessee 37415. (423) 877-3524

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