Christine Cooley Lopez journeyed home peacefully on Jan. 25, 2018, surrounded by love and family.
The eldest child of Edward Jensen Cooley and Fae Donna Thornley Cooley, she was preceded in death by her parents; paternal grandparents Abraham Coon and Lucille Jensen Cooley; maternal grandparents Delles Layton and Thelma Barkdull-Hughes Thornley and her brother David Edward Cooley.
She is survived by her sons Matthew John Lopez (Regenia Gilmer) and James Andrew Lopez (Tami Allen); her sister Janice Cooley Blair (David); brothers Keith Delles Cooley (Patrice MacDonald) and Craig Cooley; her beloved grandchildren Austin James, Elisabeth Susan, Lindsey Christine, Tyler Christian and Audrey Marie; extended family, many good friends and her family at Season’s Health and Rehab.
Christine was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 10, 1947, and was the eldest of five children. She grew up in Utah and California and graduated from Woodside High School in 1965, after which she spent time working in retail sales and in the brand-new computer industry, back when a single computer was as big as a two-car garage.
She loved fashion and was a talented seamstress even as a child, delighting in designing and making her own clothes. She loved art and music, both as a spectator and a talented artist and singer. She loved to learn; languages were a special favorite, but she was curious about everything.
In 1968, she moved from California to her parents’ home in Dayton, Ohio, to help her father Edward care for her little brothers after her mother became ill. She lived in Ohio for 20 years and it was there that she married and raised her sons.
Although facing health challenges from a young age, she defied medical odds and worked hard to live each day to the fullest. Her efforts were greatly rewarded with years of life focused on her biggest loves: her family, her faith and her friends.
Christine took an active role in her children’s lives and encouraged them to develop academic, musical and theatrical talents. She placed great value on education and made personal sacrifices to ensure the best opportunities were available for her children. Christine was also passionate about art, music, literature and the theatre being a part of a well-rounded education. As such, she took every opportunity to instill this love and appreciation in her children, including taking active roles in the community and serving in the Parent-Teacher and Orchestra Parents organizations in the Oakwood School District (Dayton, Ohio).
She was the original “Picture Lady” of the Oakwood School District and spent 10 years introducing classical artists, their paintings and other works of art to the children at the local elementary school.
Christine and her mother, Fae Donna, co-directed several plays for the seventh- and eighth-graders at Oakwood Junior High and spent many hours writing lines into the script so that every child who tried out would have a speaking part. This was a daunting task as there were consistently more than 100 students who tried out each year. She always said she learned so much from volunteering, and she made it a priority in her life.
In 1988, Christine, her parents and sons relocated to St. George, Utah, where she would live the rest of her life. She attended Dixie State, working behind the scenes on theatre productions whenever she could. She completed her education as a graduate from Southern Utah University with a secondary education teaching certification and subsequently taught French, Spanish, theatre and speech at Delta High School, Delta, Utah. She was a natural teacher and enjoyed being a part of her students’ lives.
Her health presented her with yet another challenge when she suffered from kidney failure in 1995, abruptly ending the teaching career that she loved. Christine underwent dialysis for five years until her youngest brother Craig donated a kidney to her in June 2000; a gift that gave her 18 more full years, a gift she often said gave her the blessing of seeing her sons happily married and the blessing of being able to know her grandchildren.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she served in various capacities throughout her lifetime – even when her health challenges made it difficult. Christine dedicated her life to bringing light to those around her and lived the Gospel by following the example of the savior. She believed that opportunities to serve others are a gift from the savior and that meaningful service often could be performed through a phone call, a card, a kind word or by holding someone’s hand. She taught her children the principles of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, of repentance and forgiveness and the need to treat others with love and kindness – no matter their circumstances, race or background. She also taught her children to pray and to trust in the Lord and in his timing. One of her greatest joys was that both of her sons successfully served as missionaries for the LDS church. She loved participating in family history and learning about her ancestors and the lives they lived.
For the last 16 years, Christine lived with her parents, Edward and Fae Donna, where she acted as a companion and caretaker to her mother until her death in 2014 and where she was lovingly cared for by her father until his passing in 2016. Christine remained in St. George after the deaths of her parents, moving to Season’s Health and Rehab, where she was surrounded by the wonderful caregivers and residents who, along with her friends in the 3rd Ward, she loved as family. Christine was a kind, gentle and loving soul and she will be greatly missed.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
- Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., in the Metcalf Mortuary Chapel, 288 West St. George Blvd, St. George, Utah.
- A visitation will be held Friday, prior to services, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the mortuary.
- Interment will be in Tonaquint Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.