Luel Dale Coley departed this life December 23, 2019 aged 78 years after a long illness. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home again in Baird after a 5 1/2 month hospital stay. He will always be loved and dearly missed.
Dale was born in Ft. Worth, TX to J.R. Coley and Margie Chillders Coley. He grew up in Baird, TX where he was a graduate of Baird High School, lettering in football and track. Regarding his academic achievements he once stated in a job interview he graduated in the top 15 of his class, although he didn't mention there were fewer than 25 students in it. Upon graduation he enlisted in the US Marine Corps from 1960-1964 where he was a radio operator with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA attaining the rank of corporal. He was always proud to be a Marine. After receiving his Honorable Discharge from the Marines he worked in various careers, mainly in the automotive service business, but his dream was to be a police officer. He achieved his dream in 1982, earning his Texas peace officer commission from the El Paso Sheriff's Academy. Thereafter he worked as a law enforcement officer until his retirement in 2003. His final LEO duty was Baird City Marshal, an office he founded . Dale was an avid hunter, his favorite game was dove followed by deer. A competitive marksman, Dale won many trophies in 100 yard bench rest. He enjoyed riding horses until his health no longer allowed it. His longtime mount was an ornery sorrel gelding Dale named "Texas Dandy", known to the family as "Bad Penny Dan" because although Dale tried to sell and/or give him away several times the buyers always returned him.
Dale was an Old West enthusiast and pleased to be a distant cousin of the famed gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, and therefore an even more distant cousin to the even more famous gunfighter Doc Holliday. During his law enforcement career he was involved in one shootout which ended when Dale shot the bad man in the face with a shotgun. Although critically wounded the gunman did not die and was sentenced to prison. When Dale received word he was telling people he intended to kill Dale when he got out, Dale dryly said "If he tries it, I'll finish what I started."
Dale was married to Eva Schill Baker 1965-1980 with whom he had 2 children. He is survived by Eva, his daughter Meredith Ryan of Williston, TN; his son Jeffrey Coley of Walnut Cove, NC; two grandchildren, Rollin E. Coley and Alexis Coley; his sisters Lana Coley Carpenter, Martha Coley Lynn, and Becky Reed Schofield; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his sisters, Gayle Coley Phillips; Mildred King Griffith; Barbara Reed Albright; and Mary Reed.
Graveside service at Ross Cemetery in Baird December 29, 2019 at 2pm.
RIP September 6, 1941 - December 23, 2019
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