news and events » obituaries

Obituaries Header


return to Obituaries

Earl E. Cooley ( Missoula 1940 )

posted: Nov 12, 2009

Earl, 98, died November 9, 2009, at his home in Missoula. He graduated from Corvallis (Montana) High School in 1930 and started Forestry School at the University of Montana in 1937 graduating in 1941. Earl was a member of the first smokejumper group trained in 1940. On July 12, 1940, he and Rufus Robinson made the first fire jumps in U.S. history on the Martin Creek Fire on the Nez Perce N.F.
Earl started work as a District Ranger on the Nez Perce N.F. in 1950 and returned to Missoula as Smokejumper Base Superintendent in 1958. In 1971 he became a Regional Equipment Specialist retiring in 1975 to pursue a career in Real Estate.
Earl was founder and past president of the National Smokejumper Association.