Hailed as "the very best heart surgeon who has ever lived" — Dr. Denton Cooley
The colonial-style mansion in River Oaks where Louise and Dr. Denton Cooley lived
The April 10, 1970 cover of Life Magazine highlighted the famous medical feud.
Dr. Denton Cooley and Dr. Michael DeBakey shake hands, 2007, in a historic evening in Houston.
Dr. Cooley receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Bill Clinton in 1998.
An August 1968 cover of Life Magazine featured Dr. Cooley performing a heart transplant.
Louise and Dr. Denton Cooley in 2013. The devoted couple were pillars of Houston post-war society.
At the golden anniversary of Louise and Denton Cooley, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Louise Goldsborough Thomas, soon-to-be Cooley, circa 1949
Denton Cooley's memoir, "100,000 Hearts," 2012
The Cooleys wed in 1949, then moved to Houston in 1951. Their romance would last until their passing, weeks apart, nearly seven decades later.
A vacant space in the River Oaks Shopping Center, at 1953 W. Gray, will be the site of the four-date Louise and Dr. Denton Cooley sale presented by Judy Robinson Estate Services.
The night before the Cooley estate sale begins, a detail of a window at the River Oaks Shopping Center
Beginning today, you can acquire home furnishings, antiques, decorative objects, volumes from the library, or a keepsake owned by the doctor famously hailed as “the very best heart surgeon who has ever lived.”
Houston’s own Dr. Denton Cooley — founder of the Texas Heart Institute at CHI St. Luke’s Health – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and the physician who presided over more than 109,000 open-heart procedures — passed away last fall, weeks after Louise Cooley, his devoted wife of nearly 70 years, died. Now, the couple’s heirlooms are being offered in a four-day estate sale that runs through Monday, October 2.
(Read about the well-known feud between Dr. Cooley and his mentor, Dr. Michael DeBakey — and how they reconciled, here.)
The Romance That Never Dimmed
The warm and vivacious Louise Cooley was trailblazer for a woman of her era, earning a B.A. degree in psychology from the College of William and Mary. She next attained her nursing degree, in 1949, from The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She met her future husband, a dashing resident, while she was head nurse at the Hopkins surgical clinic, and the rest is history.
She hailed from historic Frederick. Maryland; he Houston, where his paternal grandfather, Daniel Denton Cooley, was a founder of the Houston Heights. (For years, the Cooley mansion, no longer in existence, stood on Heights Boulevard.)
At the time of their passing, the close-knit couple had four (of five) surviving daughters, 16 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. The Cooleys — despite his demanding medical schedule and his never retiring from the cardiovascular field he had pioneered — were fixtures on the Houston social scene for decades, an intrinsic part of the Bayou City’s post-war philanthropy.
Offerings from a Fabled Couple
Now the couple’s heirlooms are being offered at a four-day sale by the same company that sold the estate of another of the city’s mythic figures last fall — The King of Torts, Joe Jamail Jr.
As appropriate for the Cooleys who resided in the heart of River Oaks, the couple’s estate will be presented in the same neighborhood they lived — at the Deco gem River Oaks Shopping Center, where Judy Robinson Appraisal and Estate Sale Services is setting up shop in a retail space a block from the River Oaks Theatre.
Items from other estates are also part of this weekend’s offerings, including household treasures from a woman who broke the glass ceiling for her work as a stockbroker, while also being a gardener and environmentalist — Mrs. Mary Ellen Holley.
Find a list and images of the estate highlights here.
Judy Robinson Fall Estate Sale: Friday, September 29 through Monday, October 2, 9 am to 5 pm daily, at 1953 W. Gray.