Posted By admin on November 17, 2009
They buried Earl Cooley yesterday afternoon in his Bitterroot hometown of Corvallis, and the barrage of tributes to Cooley’s work as one of the first smoke jumpers keeps coming. It’s interesting just to Google Cooley’s name and see them all.
Cooley graduated from high school in Corvallis in 1930, but he didn’t enroll in Forestry School at the University of Montana until 1937. Thanks to Jim Habeck, a retired UM botany teacher who keeps digging up fascinating stuff about Missoula’s past, here are some items from the forestry school’s yearbook, the Forestry Kaimin, from Cooley’s senior year. The bio next to his picture says:
“Cooley, Earl/ Missoula, Montana/ Forest Management”
His activities: “Forestry Club, 1, 2, 3, 4. Foresters’ Ball.”
“Summer Work: Fire Guard, Lolo National Forest, ’37, ’38, ’39. Parachute Corps, Region 1, U.S. F.S. ’40.
Cooley wrote an account for the Foresty Kaimin of his first training jump and his historic first jump in the Nez Perce Forest of Idaho. I’ll post that next. More posts, shorter posts is our mantra …