Kathleen duLac Cooney
SANTA MONICA, California Kathleen duLac was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 17, 1942. She was the second of three daughters, born to William duLac and Grace Rognrud. Her earthly voyage ended on March 21, 2017 at St. John’s Providence Hospital in Santa Monica, California, after a courageous year and a half battle with a malignant brain tumor. She passed quietly and peacefully, in the company of beloved family members. Though she was taken from us too soon, she left us with an inexhaustible reservoir of wonderful memories.
She lived a life that mattered.
Kathy’s childhood and teens were spent largely in the San Francisco Bay area. She graduated from Carlmont High School in Belmont, California in 1960. She moved to Reno, Nevada in the early sixties, where she met Gary D. Cooney, an aspiring medical student. In August of 1966 she made Gary the happiest man in the world by marrying him in Carson City, Nevada. The newlyweds and Kathy’s sons (Scott, age five, and Rob, age four) moved to Minneapolis, where Gary had been accepted to attend the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Kathy was employed full time at Honeywell during their four years in Minneapolis.
This experience may have fostered her lifelong interest in cutting edge electronics, as she became an “early adopter” of computers, cell phones, smart phones, iPads, and “the cloud”. All the while she maintained a very warm and inviting home for all of us for four long years. Amazing!
She continued to work after we moved to Salt Lake City during five years of Gary’s post graduate training. Kathy had a lifelong passion for design, including Interior Design, and all aspects of apparel. Furthermore, she was a wonderful saleswoman. She worked in a number of retail women’s apparel stores in Salt Lake, excelling in sales. She was able to work a successful pregnancy into her schedule, delivering Bevan Troy into the world in December 1972. The family moved to Missoula, in July of 1975, as Gary had accepted a position to join a newly formed medical group (Neurological Associates).
Dr. Henry Gary, a well established Missoula neurosurgeon recruited Dr. Richard Dewey and Gary to join him in this venture. Kathy was a bit peeved that Gary had actually purchased a house on his last visit to Missoula without discussing it with her. She was very pleasantly surprised with the choice when she first saw itnot that it couldn’t be improved. Shortly after we moved in, a neighbor dropped by with a young boy about Bevan’s age in tow. She introduced herself as Phyllis Washington and her son as Kevin. That was the beginning of a truly beautiful friendship. gave her the apt nickname of “the little general”. This association provided Kathy with a myriad of wonderful experiences that contributed significantly to her personal and professional growth. Kathy was very proud of her membership in the American Society of Interior Design. She established her own business, Montana Interior Design, which she operated for many years, during which time she made many friends.
Kathleen duLac Cooney loved life. She lived hers to the fullest, enriching the lives of many. She loved people. People loved her back. It was impossible to not like her.
She radiated positivity, optimism, and self confidence. Drawn in by her sparkling, cornflower blue eyes, an array of beautiful smiles, and her soothing voice, resistance was impossible, surrender inevitable. Once enthralled, you were hers. But she was also yours. A great listener, one of her greatest gifts was her ability to make everyone feel special. She was able to bring out the best in other people. It was fun to just be around her. She had a wonderful sense of humor, generously sharing her laughter and beautiful smiles with the world. Everything went better with Kathy! Her temperament was remarkably even and reliably predictable. Generally unflappable, she faced adversity with courage, equanimity and rationality. She was not one to complain. She was very strong, physically, mentally, and emotionallyand strong willed. Throughout her life she was a very spiritual person. She believed in the “the Golden Rule” and behaved accordingly. She was very kind, compassionate and non judgmental. Morally, she was as decent a person as ever drew breathunscrupulously honest, loyal, and reliable. Kathy possessed an agile and inquisitive mind. One of her greatest assets was her great common sense. This resulted in her exhibiting unfailingly good judgment. Consequently, her family and friends often sought her counsel. She was extremely artistic and creative. She had wonderfully good taste. Always fastidiously groomed, she dressed very stylishly. Never ostentatious, yet her entrance never went unnoticed. This was enhanced by her charismatic personality. She was vivacious, energetic, and self confidant. In a word, she was the embodiment of “classy”. She was also very modest and very private. Kathy spent her life refining her innate inner beauty. In doing so, she inspired, motivated, and enriched the lives of many, many people. Above all else, Kathy loved her family with something approaching unconditional love. God only knows what we would have been without her. Nothing brought her more joy than the time she spent with her four grandchildren, Kylie, Chloe, Clover, and Traner. Kathy’s oldest granddaughter Kylie gave Kathy the nickname “Bonna”, which stuck. “Bonna” will be sorely missed by all of them.
By and large, Kathy had a great deal of fun in her daily life. She was truly grateful just to be alive everyday. She was all about avoiding stress and maintaining serenity. She practiced meditation regularly throughout most of her adult life. She loved having conversations with her friends and family members. Her phone conversations were punctuated with frequent “how fun!” interjections. Occasionally, shocking or amazing revelations evoked “oh, for Christ’s sake!” Her signature telephone sign off was a cheerful “Well, I guess I’d better let you go” She loved music. She was an avid reader. Her musical and literature tastes were very eclectic. She loved attending musical concerts, stage plays, and spiritual and motivational conclaves. This usually involved travel (which she didn’t mind). Her favorite destinations included San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii and Paris. One of her peak experiences was a trip to Paris four years ago, accompanied by her devoted younger sister, Barbara, and Kathy’s good friend Paddy MacDonald. Kathy also treasured reacquainting herself with her Aunt Eugenie Rognrud and Eugenie’s children (Becky, Riesa, and Walter) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Kathy was a busy woman. She was good at doing pretty much everything. If she couldn’t do something, she knew whom to call to get it done. She was a wonderful cook. She made every holiday very special, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. She never forgot a birthday. Kathy was very handy. Kathy could fix things, from broken ceramics to broken hearts. She was also a true “techie”, who purchased and mastered every device that Apple ever marketed. Kathy loved shopping for anything and everything, online or off line. She loved clothing, footwear, accessories, scarves, cosmetics, handbags and the odd hat. Kathy was a great gardener, who was particularly proud of the large pots of red geraniums, petunia’s, spikes, trailing vines, and verbenas that adorned her backyard. She never tired of watching the squirrels, songbirds, bears, wild ducks, raccoons and raptors, which shared the backyard with her. She also enjoyed the deer, as long as they were not in her backyard! Kathy was a dog lover, who provided five male black Labs, and two darling female Yorkshire terriers with wonderful companionship and love.
Kathy loved living in Montana. She loved the natural grandeur and the people. She enjoyed the changing of the seasons. She celebrated spring by spending that week in California. On her last visit, she slipped away in Santa Monica on March 21, 2017. She was a happy woman. She lived a meaningful life, a life that mattered. Her youngest son, Bevan, summed it up: “Mom showed us how to live, then she showed us how to die”. Amen.
Kathy was preceded in death by her parents, William duLac and Grace Rognrud duLac, and her older sister Sandra. She is survived by her loving husband of 51 years, Gary Cooney (Missoula), her adoring sons, Scott Cooney (Missoula), Rob Cooney (Incline Village, NV), and Bevan Cooney (Missoula), her devoted sister Barbara duLac Widmann (Half Moon Bay, CA), nieces Debbie Swenerton and Lesa Horve, nephews Erik Horve and David Sides, granddaughters Kylie and Chloe (Scott’s children), Clover and grandson Traner (Bevan’s children) and Aunts Eugenie Rognrud (Scottsdale, AZ), and Karen Jacobson (Willmar, MN). (Kathy’s neuro oncologist), and for the assistance of all the other physicians, nurses, and staff during this diffucult time. Their skill and compassion gave us all the priceless gift of 18 months more of life for our beloved Kathy. We are particularly grateful to Ms. Cherri Sanchez in this regard.