Summary: This is my eulogy for a lady named Connie who was severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Her husband, Rex, in his care for her, was a great inspiration to our church family. Connie was a model of patient endurance.

It was not Roe vs. Wade. It was Runnelstown vs. Wade. It was a football game to be played on Runnelstown's (Miss.)

field. A young gentleman named Rex, a student at the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, came to see

his Wade Hornets play.

He did not know that across the field there was a little cutie named Connie Cooley. She was a Runnelstown cheerleader. She did not know that the love of her life was seated on the visitor's side that night.

But just as God's providence would bring Rebekah to Isaac even so would providence bring Connie to Rex. He had been given a principalship at the Vancleave Elementary School. She had come to teach 4th grade at that same school.

One day on the playground Rex said that they "began to talk." (That's what happened to all of us spouses here today.)

The budding romance in time went full bloom.

But Connie had been diagnosed with a potentially crippling form of arthritis. She made that fact known to Rex and indicated that she did not want to be a burden. Connie then asked, "Do you think we can make it?" Rex's answer was to the point. He said, "Yes, we can!"

Rex never considered her a burden. She was his queen, not for a day, but for 46 years. Rex, you set the bar high for

us husbands. Let's give it up for Rex. (Applause)

Connie was just about everything at Runnelstown High School. She was a superstar basketball player, a cheerleader,

homecoming queen, and much more.

Let me mention her as a basketball player. She was a kind of a female "Pistol Pete." She was a starter for four years

and averaged over 30 points per game. There's a beautiful story involving her brother, Bill Cooley, who coached at

North Forrest High School. His double-teaming her didn't work and when she scored a basket she would pass by him

and flash a big grin as if to say, "in your face, big boy."

I've been looking at her high school yearbooks. Runnelstown didn't know that it once had some budding thinkers. Charlotte

wrote a short note and closed by saying, "Yours till the Statue of Liberty sits down." Sandra wrote, "When you get married and have 25. Don't call it a family, call it a tribe."

In a more serious vein, Mrs. Winnifred Watts wrote, "Dearest Connie, I'm sure you'll never forget Junior English and

one certain theme! But as you remember, may you remember also that success comes to those who keep trying as you have. That ability to keep on keeping on will assure you of success to say nothing of your natural beauty and

sweet personality. May God bless you always. Lovingly, Mrs Watts."

Connie committed her life to Christ in her teenage years at the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Runnelstown.

She never fouled out of the game of life.

Connie was the darling heart of church and especially our Senior Adult Life Group. It was her friendly phone calls to the members that caused our Life Group to be the largest in our church.

To Rex and the Waltman family and to the Cooley "gang," you are to be commended for your care of Connie. Let's all plan to meet her at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Charles G. Clary

Hurley, Mississippi

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