Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 30, 2013

Robert J. Cooney


— Robert J. Cooney of Avon died Monday. He was 91.

Born May 29, 1921, in Terre Haute, he was adopted by James and Tracie Cooney. He married Ruby Fisher on March 26, 1944, at the 4th Avenue Methodist Church in Terre Haute and they celebrated their 62nd anniversary in 2006. She survives.

Mr. Cooney graduated from Wiley High School in 1939 and became a station agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1942, he joined the military and held several positions, the last being as a staff sergeant in General MacArthur’s headquarters in Manila and Tokyo. After being discharged in February of 1946, he enrolled in Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute (now Rose Hulman Institute of Technology) and graduated as a civil engineer.

One of his assignments was as project manager of the Indianapolis Water Company’s Morse Reservoir. In the late 1950s, he was the engineer of record for 20 shopping centers in central Indiana.

He received a masters of public administration degree from Indiana University while employed by the highway department as supervisor of the Utility and Railroad Section. In 1969, he was appointed director of public works for the state, responsible for the overseeing of all state construction projects except the universities and highway roadway projects.

In 1992, he transferred to the position of chief engineer for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. During his last two daytime assignments, he attended Indiana University night law school, obtaining a doctor of jurisprudence degree in May 1973. After his retirement from engineering, he entered the practice of law in both Indiana and Florida.

Mr. Cooney held memberships in several fraternal and public organizations including the Scottish Rite and Murat Shrine, becoming a 50-year member of its Brass Band; president of the Speedway Jaycees; a charter advisor for Junior Achievement in 1957; and chairman of the Council of Ministers for the Speedway Methodist Church. He was also a member of Plainfield United Methodist Church.

During his diversified professional life, he received several honors including the Fellowship Award from the ASCE and being nominated as an Engineer of Distinction by the Engineers Joint Council. In 2001, Mr. Cooney was granted an honorary doctorate of engineering from Rose Hulman.

Services are 11:30 a.m. Friday at Plainfield United Methodist Church. Entombment will be at Maple Hill Cemetery.

Calling is for an hour prior to the service at the church.

Hampton-Gentry Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be sent to the Cooney family at www.hamptongentry.com.