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Cooley named Hillsville's citizen of the month

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Former mayor and lawyer Raleigh Cooley was recognized for his yars of service to the community.

By Shaina Stockton

HILLSVILLE — Mayor Greg Crowder presented the Town of Hillsville’s Citizen of the Month award to Raleigh Minor Cooley at the June 23 meeting.

Although Cooley was unavailable to attend the meeting that evening due to health reasons, Crowder took a moment to summarize Cooley’s accomplishments to those in attendance.

Cooley graduated from Hillsville High School in 1941, and worked and paid his way through William & Mary College. He was drafted into the U.S. Navy in April, 1943, and served for almost three years aboard the U.S.S. Halford.

He returned to William & Mary after the war, and received a law degree in June 1951. He began his law practice that same year, on the back of his father’s desk, with offices in the Carroll County Courthouse.

He served as mayor of Hillsville from 1958-1978.

He was one of the founders of the Galax-Carroll-Grayson Chamber of Commerce, and he helped organize the Galax Savings and Loan Association, the forerunner of Mountain National Bank. He was a founding director of the Bank of Carroll, and served as chairman of their board.

He was secretary of the Carroll Industrial Land Corporation, Reed Island Development Corporation and the Hillsville Development Corporation. “These groups served as the vehicle for most of the industry that came to Hillsville and Carroll County during the 1960s and 1970s,” said Crowder.

Cooley has served as president of the Blue Ridge District of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society, and the State Board of the Virginia Christian Missionary Society, serving one term as its vice president.

He was also a member of the Hillsville Drum and Bugle Corps.

Today, Cooley serves as a member of the Hillsville Lions Club, where he received the Melvin Jones Fellow award in 1995. He is also a member of the Hillsville Lodge #193 A.F. and A.M.; Hillsville Chapter #71, Order of the Eastern Star; Scottish Rites and Kazim Temple; life member of the Grover King Post #1115 VFW; former member of the Post No. 145 (Galax) American Legion; and was secretary of the Twin County Airport Commission from 1965-1991.

Cooley was elected to the board of directors of Piedmont BankGroup Inc., in February 1992, serving approximately six years.

He is a member of the Hillsville Christian Church.

He married Marguerite Chitwood Marshall on Feb. 14, 1975, and they were married for 36 years, until her death in 2011.