FROM THE COOLEY FAMILY IN DUNDEE, NY
Victoria Baker Cooley died peacefully at home about two o'clock this morning in the arms and hands of her family, with singing, tears and thanks for her good life.
Vicki lived a full life. She lived with breast cancer the past five years, remaining active in various causes. We grieve our loss and the years she might yet have continued to help transform the world and be with family. We feel supported by the wide circle of friends whom she loved and helped.
VICTORIA LYN BAKER COOLEY
April 9, 1943 -- April 10, 2006
As the note points out, Vicki lived a full life. She received many blessings (her family, her friends, her tremendous intelligence, her energy, the spiritual fellowship of Friends and others); and she was a vehicle of blessings to many others. I cannot claim to have been a close friend and I have not been in regular contact, but in hearing this news I feel very teary and that I have suffered (we have suffered) a great loss. I first came to know her when she was clerk of the Yearly Meeting and I was one of the recording clerks. I last spoke to her at any length several years ago when she and John Cooley gave me hospitality for several days in their wonderful large (but simple) house in Dundee. I also remember being astonished and deeply grateful when she came to my hometown of Rushville, New York, to attend my mother's funeral in 1999. She had not known my mother or others in my family, but came to support a fellow-Quaker in a time of sadness. I knew no other Quakers near Rushville, and had not expected any Quakers to be there. It was immensely comforting to see her.
Vicki once wrote of what she discovered in herself when she was asked to reflect on how she wanted to live.
...I was amazed at the simple clarity of what came to me: I do not want to be dismissive in my attitude toward anyone, ever. That is quite a bit more demanding than “No putdowns,” and it is taking time as well as effort for me to learn what it means, but I trust it completely as True.I'd like to be that way, too, though I think I know far less about how to be that way than Vicki ever did. This remark of Vicki's is part of her talk "The Quality of Mercy" given as a lecture at Baltimore Yearly Meeting in 2005. I hope Friends will read it and maybe sense in the spirit behind it at least a hint of the greatness of her soul.