A resident of the City of Tuskegee, Cooley began her teaching career at the university in 1947 as an assistant instructor. After holding several positions at Alcorn, Alabama A & M University, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin, Cooley returned to Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Institute) in 1969. She distinguished herself as an educator and mentor as well as a leader in the counseling profession. During her tenure, she presented dozens of papers and professional workshops on counseling and developing students. She also served as president of the Alabama Association for Counseling and Development, the Association for Specialist in Group Work and the American Personnel and Guidance Association.
Cooley attended Tuskegee Institute High School and went on to earn a B.S. in home economics education and M.S. in human nutrition from Tuskegee University (then Tuskegee Institute). She was a Graduate Fellow at Purdue University and earned a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin.
She is survived by one brother, Leon (Daisy) Stallworth; three devoted nieces, Sharon (Troy) Nettles; Lisa Stallworth; Linda (Reginal) Buchanan; two devoted nephews, William (Minnie) Stallworth and Larry Stallworth; a devoted cousin, Del McCorvey, and a host of other relatives and friends.
She was honored during a funeral service held at Tuskegee University Chapel, where Father Liston Garfield officiated. She was interred in Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery in Peterman, Ala.