The Town of Lake Lure has been deeply saddened by the untimely loss of our honorable Mayor, Kevin Cooley.  He passed away early on Wednesday, 5/15/19. A very meaningful Memorial Service was held for Mayor Cooley at the Fairfield Mountains Chapel on Sunday, 5/19/19, followed by a reception at the Lake Lure Inn.  Family and friends gathered to celebrate the incredible life and the remarkable legacy of Mayor Cooley.  His family has been in our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Yvonne, the children, grandchildren and family. 

The Lake Lure Town Manager, Shannon Baldwin, reflected on Kevin Cooley’s many qualities at his Memorial Service at the Fairfield Mountain Chapel on Sunday, 5/19/19.  Shannon remarked that

Mayor Cooley had the…

  • Right Personality
  • Right Skill Set
  • Right Knowledge Base
  • Right Outlook
  • Right Amount of Passion

He added, Mayor Cooley was the…

  • Right Person
  • At The Right Time
  • At the Right Place

He was the point of the spear and was leading the charge.  We saw him almost every day and he loved the work he was doing for our Town.

Mayor Cooley helped the Town capitalize on our strengths while recognizing our responsibilities to address our infrastructure challenges.  He helped us dig in and learn the facts about the needs of the Town to renovate our nearly 100 year old dam and to build a new sewer system to comply with NC Department of Environmental Quality standards.  Mayor Cooley helped us present these vast infrastructure needs to the Governor’s delegation called, “Community Strong”. One of the representatives stated regarding the presentations materials, “This is fantastic.  You guys have your act together.” In short, Mayor Cooley was working with Town leaders and staff to address these five (5) Goliath size infrastructure repair projects and their estimated costs.

  • Dam Renovation – 50 million
  • Complete Sewer System Replacement – 26 million (now 28 million and growing)
  • New State Park Egress in the Lake Lure Town Center – Town’s Cost Unknown
  • Lake Dredging – 5 million, $500,000 annually
  • Dam Bridge Replacement – 25 million (NCDOT Project)

Mayor Cooley was a retired engineer and his knowledge was exactly what was needed in Lake Lure.  Here are a few engineering terms he used like common household phrases while working on Town projects: 

  • Piezometric Analysis
  • Subaqueous 12 inch Sewer Line
  • Finite Element Studies
  • Hydrologic & Hydraulic Modeling
  • Heavy Infrastructure

We were so fortunate to have his calm, well informed, confident approach as we tackled these monumental challenges.

The Town has a Vision Statement: “Lake Lure, the gem of the Carolinas, is a mountain lake community that has a harmonious balance of interests of our citizens, businesses and visitors, achieved through open communication and managed growth that emphasizes fiscal responsibility and stewardship of our natural beauty and environment.”

Mayor Cooley knew the vision and we were using it as a guide with him at the helm, just as David took on Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.  He wasn’t intimidated. 

  • David was unknowingly being prepared for a bigger battle, so was Mayor Cooley.
  • Like David, Mayor Cooley was well equipped.  Mayor Cooley had an MBA and an engineering background in heavy infrastructure. 
  • He had impressive emotional intelligence and incredible people skills.
  • Like David, Mayor Cooley was eager to take on Goliath size projects, he wasn’t intimidated.
  • Both were focused on ‘big picture’ things essential to a better future, and didn’t let distractions derail the mission. 
  • Mayor Cooley was highly organized and always followed through.   He was great at implementation.
  • Both rallied and unified the team. 
  • Mayor Cooley looked for ‘win\win’ opportunities among stakeholders and everyone wanted to be on his team.

David changed history and so did Mayor Cooley.  He and the current Town Council set the Town in the right direction.  Lake Lure is better off because of him and each person he encountered is a better person for having known him. 

May we all remain inspired by his legacy and always fondly recall the great memories we have of him. 

God Bless Mayor Cooley’s family and all those who loved him.