Fae Donna Thornley Cooley

CooleyFaeDonna  Older obit(August 27, 1924-August 14, 2014)

Fae Donna Thornley Cooley journeyed home peacefully on August 14, 2014 surrounded by loved ones and with her beloved puppy, Daisy by her side.

Fae Donna was born August 27, 1924, in Layton, Utah. Her family relocated to Salt Lake City in 1932 where she graduated from East High School and attended the University of Utah as an English major. As a young girl she developed a lifelong love of fashion and fabric, teaching herself to sew so she could keep up with the latest styles.

She loved music of all genres, was always a voracious reader, avid moviegoer and she”…had such a fine gift of words, she did.” Her whole life she was never without a pad and pencil to jot down her ideas for stories, characters and dialogue. She began working in community theatre in the early forties, acting with the Deseret Theatre and Salt Lake Theatre Company, while working and acting in radio plays at KDYL radio.

In 1945 she met her eternal companion, Edward when they portrayed sweethearts in “The Family Upstairs”. On December 19, 1945, the romantic fantasy on stage became a reality when they married in the Salt Lake Temple just two months after their first meeting. While raising five children they lived in Salt Lake City, Utah; El Centro, Westchester and Menlo Park, California before moving to Dayton, Ohio in 1967.

While on the West Coast, Fae Donna wrote the first few of several published plays “The Monument” which won the LDS Church Play Writing Contest, and “The Road to Bethlehem” a Nativity Play. She spent many summers writing and directing “Roadshows” for the young people of the church she so loved to work with. Everyone who wanted to participate had a place in a Fae Donna Cooley production, everyone was valued, earning her the title, ”Everyone’s Mom”. Upon relocating to Dayton, Ohio she wrote and directed productions for community theatre and church groups before she decided to temporarily put her typewriter on the shelf and go back to acting. She loved working on both sides of the house and was awarded an Ohio Community Theatre Association Best Actress award for her portrayal of eccentric British poetess Stevie Smith.

Fae Donna, Edward, Christine and her family moved to St. George in 1988. Fae Donna loved being back in Utah, where she enjoyed teaching Park and Recreation theatre classes to children and young adults, working with the Dixie College and Dixie High School Theatre Departments, performing with the St. George Musical Theatre, and singing with her husband in the Southwest Chorale.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Delles Layton and Thelma Barkdull-Hughes Thornley; and son, David Edward Cooley. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Edward Jensen Cooley; her children: Christine Lopez, Janice Blair (David), Keith Delles (Patrice) and Craig Graehl; her sister, Carol Thornley Hawkes; her brother, Paul Delles Thornley; her ten grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; seventeen nieces and nephews as well as many friends and neighbors whom she regarded as family.

She never met a person that wasn’t a friend, and saw beauty and magic everywhere; every living thing was of value to her. She will be greatly missed. The family wishes to express their profound gratitude for the many acts of loving kindness extended to them during Fae Donna’s illness. A special thank you to IHC Internal Medicine Clinic and IHC Home Health and Hospice for their care and support.

Funeral Services

  • Funeral Services will be Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Red Hills Chapel, 200 West 500 North, St. George, Utah.
  • A visitation will be held Wednesday, Sept. 3, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. prior to services at the Chapel.
  • Interment will be in the Tonaquint Cemetery.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221. For condolences and funeral listings please visit the Metcalf Mortuary website.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society, 1490 East Foremaster Drive, Building B, Suite 117, St. George, Utah or H.A.R.T. (Homeless Animal Rescue Team) 1838 West 1020 North, Unit A, St. George, Utah.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • michaela August 31, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Is it not a Commandment of our Father in Heaven to love one another; not to wish a local business, The Spectrum, “to go out of business”? Perhaps its not your fault having mean in your heart.

  • michaela August 31, 2014 at 3:37 am

    Two aganist one…?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.