Raleigh Cooley, who has practiced law in Hillsville for 63 years, was selected the town’s Citizen of the Month for June by Mayor Greg Crowder during the June 23 town council meeting.
Cooley graduated from Hillsville High School in 1941 and entered the College of William & Mary in 1942. He spent two years there before being drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1943. He served on the U.S.S. Halford. Following his discharge, Cooley returned to William & Mary, earning an AB Degree in 1949 and a law degree in 1951. Later that year, on June 15, he began practicing law with his father.
Cooley served as mayor in Hillsville for 20 years (1958-78), and was one of the founders of the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Chamber of Commerce. He helped organize the Galax Savings & Loan Association, and was a founding director and chairman of the board for the Bank of Carroll. In addition, Cooley was secretary of the Carroll Industrial Corporation, and served on the Reed Island Development Corporation and the Hillsville Development Corporation. The three corporations served as the vehicle for most of the industry that evolved in Hillsville and Carroll County in the 1960s and 70s, according to Crowder.
He also served as secretary of the Twin County Airport Commission from 1965 to 1991 and served six years on the board of directors of the Piedmont BankGroup, Inc.
Cooley is a member of the Hillsville Lions Club, receiving the Melvin Jones Fellow Award in 1995. He also belongs to the Hillsville Masonic Lodge #193 A.F. & A.M., Scottish Rites and Kazim Temple, the Hillsville Eastern Star Chapter #71, and Grover King Post No. 1115. He is a former member of American Legion Post No. 145 in Galax.
Cooley is a member of the Hillsville Christian church, a past president of the Blue Ridge District of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society and a former member of the state board of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society, including one term as vice president.
Cooley was married to Marguerite Chitwood Marshall for 36 years before her death in 2011.
Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311 or @MikeEHowlett