American Patriotic 10
Official Obituary of

Bernard James Cooney

November 2, 1942 ~ February 24, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Bernard Cooney Obituary

Bernard J. Cooney, 81, a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, died on February 24, 2024, after a short illness.

Bernard was born on November 2, 1942 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the youngest of five children, to the late Timothy J. and Isabelle A. (Johnson) Cooney. He was a graduate of Saint John’s High School, of which he was especially fond.

He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1964 and completed B-52 Combat Crew Training in 1966. As an Electronic Warfare Officer, he had over 150 B-52 combat missions in Southeast Asia and was part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in the late 1960s on nuclear alert with targets over the former Soviet Union. Bernard was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After a night mission over Vietnam, he “took a hop” to Thailand to sit for the law school entrance exam. He soon entered Boston College Law School as a Reservist, graduating in 1972. After serving as a JAG officer and in private practice in Washington, D.C., Bernard opened his own law firm in 1985.

Bernard advocated in Washington for servicemembers who were reported as prisoners of war (POWs) or missing in action (MIA), especially several of his friends, classmates, and other Air Force Academy graduates shot down over North Vietnam.

Family and friends will remember Bernard as a kind and warm presence with compassion for those in need and always willing to lend a hand (perhaps sometimes even too willing!). He was a longtime, proud parishioner of Saint Peter’s Parish in Olney and enjoyed serving as a regular lector at Mass and attending the Men’s Group retreats.

In recent years, after retiring from the practice of law, Bernard continued his avid love of books, enjoyed visiting his grandchildren, daily swims, playing horseshoes with his family, squash games with his sons-in-law, and frequent visits with Jean to Starbucks and Nancy’s Kitchen in Olney. His love of aviation also extended to flying daring kite “missions” over various beaches along the Eastern Seaboard with help from his grandchildren.

He leaves his wife of 59 years, Jean (Mercier); four daughters, Cathleen A. Schultz and her husband Sander of Silver Spring, Maryland, Anita Roschy and her husband R. Dean of Columbia, Maryland, Mary Jean King and her husband Jeffrey of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Patricia A. Gribbon of Holly Springs, North Carolina; and one son, Bernard J. Cooney and his wife Grace of Montclair, New Jersey; a brother, Timothy J. Cooney and his wife Joyce of Cape Cod, Massachusetts; a sister, Virginia M. Benison of Holden, Massachusetts; 10 grandchildren – to whom he was known affectionally as “Gramps” – Connor, Colleen, Emma, Owen, Claire, Mary Catherine, Christine, Brenna, Alex, and James; and many nieces and nephews. A brother, Joseph J. Cooney, died in 1990, and a sister, Margaret M. “Peg” (Cooney) Creamer, died in 2014.

In lieu of flowers and in remembrance of Bernard’s life, the family asks that charitable donations be made to Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, 2900 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, Maryland 20832, or the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, Inc., 333 E. 115th St., New York, New York 10029.

A Visitation will be held on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P.A., 12540 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD 21029 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, March 4, 2024, at St. Peters Catholic Church, 2900 Olney Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, MD 20832 at 11:00 am followed by internment at All Souls Cemetery, 11401 Brink Rd., Germantown, MD 20876.

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March 3, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P. A.
12540 Clarksville Pike, Rt 108
Clarksville, Maryland 21029

March 4, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St Peter Catholic Church
2900 Olney Sandy Spring Rd
Olney, MD 20832

Funeral Mass
March 4, 2024

11:00 AM
St Peter Catholic Church
2900 Olney Sandy Spring Rd
Olney, MD 20832

Interment following Funeral Mass
March 4, 2024

All Souls Cemetery
11401 Brink Rd
Germantown, MD 20876


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