Mark Rathbun: Eulogy for Earle Cooley (November 21, 2009)

Earle Cooley, the best friend anyone could ever ask to have, left this world in October of this year. During  many of the hard times we went through together, Earle spoke to me half-jokingly about reaching Valhalla, the mythical Norse after-world where fallen heroes go. Earle used to describe it to me as he envisioned it – a  jovial pub where warriors would smoke, drink and tell war stories. Anybody who ever had the privilege of hearing Earle tell a story knows how enjoyable that could be.

Earle Cooley was a warrior in the most honorable sense of the word. Honorable warriors have big hearts. Earle had a heart the size of a barn.

I hired Earle to work for the Church in 1984.  In addition to being one of America’s most accomplished  trial lawyers, his brand of insouciance was uplifting and infectious. In his gravelly, booming voice he seemed to always be able to sum up a situation with a witty line.  In our very first meeting in Boston, Earle described a fellow opposing us like this, “You’ve got to understand,  the man is no ordinary thief. He’d steal the stove and come back for the smoke.” 1