Diane Cooley Ashdown

Diane Cooley Ashdown, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and sister returned to our heavenly home on February 27, 2018. Diane was born August 20, 1938 in Cedar City and is the eldest child of Hazen Jelte Cooley and Phyllis Emma Johnson Cooley. She attended school in Cedar City and eventually earned her Associates Degree from College of Southern Utah (forerunner to SUU) in 1958. In her early years, she became a gifted pianist and played for numerous church and social functions; she shared her musical talents with many over the course of her life. 

 Diane was married to Laurence Ashdown, also of Cedar City, in the St. George LDS Temple on April 19, 1958, and they eventually became the parents of five children: Greg (Robyn), Boyd (Kristin), Nola Erickson (Reed), Neil (Andrea) and Clay (Laurie). The newlywed’s first home was in Misawa, Japan where Laurence served in the U.S. Air Force. In 1960, they returned to Cedar City for seven years except for a one-year stint in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1967, the young family moved to Lander, Wyoming for what was intended to be a 2-3 year assignment at U.S. Steel’s new iron mine in central Wyoming. 30 years later, in 1997, the couple returned from their long-time Wyoming home and numerous friends to Cedar City to build their retirement home in the same ward (Cedar City 8th) and, in fact, on the same block where Diane had grown up. 

 Along with her full-time jobs of mother and homemaker, Diane served in numerous church callings: typically as ward organist, choir accompanist, Young Women’s leader or in the Relief Society. She loved the youth – and especially teenagers – and always found ways to serve and teach them. For many years, she taught piano lessons every afternoon in her home. Once her children were old enough to be in school all day, she found employment at Lander Valley High School as the Registrar and later at Canyon View High School in Cedar as the Attendance Secretary. 

 Following her retirement from the school system, Diane and Laurence served for many years as ordinance workers in the St. George LDS Temple. Recently, she realized a long-term dream of being called to work in the newly-dedicated Cedar City Temple. 

Diane’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will remember her energetic and perpetually cheery disposition, her selflessness, her keen interest in all their activities, and her uncanny ability to provide gifts that were in fashion, fit perfectly and always pleasing to the recipient. She has been the role model of motherhood. 

 Diane is survived by her husband of almost 60 years, Laurence; 4 of their 5 children (Neil passed away in 2016) and their spouses, 20 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren (and counting); her brother Wayne Cooley (Signal Mountain, Tennessee) and her sister Bonita Cooley Turnbaugh (Cedar City).  

 A viewing was held on Friday, March 2 from 6-7 p.m. at the Southern Utah Mortuary, located at 190 North 300 West in Cedar City. A second viewing took place on Saturday, March 3 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Cedar City 2nd Ward Building located at 256 South 900 West in Cedar City. Her funeral followed at 11 a.m. at the church, and she was then interred at the Cedar City Cemetery, under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences can be sent to www.sumortuary.com 

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