Devon Cooley was born on June 2, 2004 in Wichita, KS. As an early child Devon was very much connected to his great grandmother, Beverly Gean Cooley. They shared an amazing relationship and they were always “connected at the hip.” Sadly, approximately five years ago Beverly passed and Devon continued on without her.
Growing up Devon had many different likes and phases. One of which was wrestling and at one time, Pokémon. He had many interests and was a versatile young child who often gave many a “run for their money.” He was quick-witted, yet charismatic. Within the past few years Devon developed a passion and love for skateboarding. He would often skip-out on trips to Denny’s with his grandfather, one of his favorite past-time memories to continue working on his skateboarding tricks.
As he continued into middle school Devon became a very unique individual who attempted to make his own “style” and did so confidently. He wasn’t ashamed to try something new, whether it be a school activity, new apparel and/or hairstyle. Within the halls of Mead Middle School he went from the Fro-hawk, to the Mohawk, to the “rat-tail” and even what he called a “man-bun.” The “man-bun,” which Devon wore throughout the end of his 6th grade year he wore confidently, smiling and brushing off anyone who dared to criticize him for it. Criticism and bullying rarely happened to Devon, even with his many differences, as he was confident in all that he did, including both his person style and hair. His circle of friends included a variety of students, both in race, gender and individual interests. If there is one thing his friends will remember him for,it was his ability to love people for their individual differences, interests and personality.
In the classroom Devon was always willing to try something new…and outrageous. He was the student who was willing to help any student, even the students who sometimes others did not want to be partners with. Although Devon struggled to always complete his work on-time, he was an “out of the box” thinker who wanted to create, invent and collaborate with others. Devon could have adult-like conversation with just about anyone, asking high level questions and giving answers that were well beyond his years. At Mead, he was part of the Powerful Purple Puma House Team. Within his 6th grade year, he, along with his Puma teammates came back from a 23 point deficit to come within one point of winning the 6th Grade House Cup Trophy.
On Friday, May 27, 2016 Devon and some family friends were taken to Lord’s Diner, as part of their Friday Night routine. Typically after dinner Devon and his friends would cross the creek, skateboard at Jardine, skateboard through Planeview and would end up skateboarding at Save-A-Lot until a security guard would tell them they had to leave.
Sadly, Devon’s Friday night routine was forever altered, as upon crossing the creek, Devon fell into the water, never to be seen again. At this time, Devon’s grandfather was contacted by EMS that he needed to immediately report to the scene.
From here, Wichita Fire, Police and Search and Rescue Departments spent 7 long, exhausting days searching for Devon Cooley. Thursday, June 2, 2016 would have been Devon’s 12th birthday, however, his family and friends tragically celebrated his birthday without him. Family and friends released balloons into the Wichita sky in honor of his 12th birthday and prayed that there would be closure to this tragic event soon.
On Saturday, June 4th, two civilian kayakers found a body on the Arkansas River near K-15 and 31st street. At that time, the search had unofficially ended when the body was extracted from the river. The emotions from the family was mixed, as they were still devastated, yet relieved that his body was finally found. Although the situation became more “real” the family could finally get some closure to what had happened on the night of the 27th.
Currently the family is planning his memorial service so that all family members, friends, teachers, community and well-wishers are able to pay tribute to Devon’s life.
Additionally, the family wants to organize and put together some sort of Water Safety Training class. They want to help educate children of Devon’s age in the importance of water safety, in hopes that they can prevent any future losses of this nature. They are seeking volunteers for this project, so please contact the family if you are interested in assisting with this.
To date, there are two different places you can donate money to the Cooley Family. The first being the GoFundMe Project, which will help to pay for the memorial service, funeral expenses and flowers. The second is on this website, where contributions are given directly to the family to help cover the costs of the services and future Water Safety Class.
Thank you to all of those who played a part in Devon’s Life Story, whether it was prior to, on or after May 27th, 2016. Your efforts, contributions and love for Devon are forever appreciated.