Town of Islip honors Nina Cooley with Memorial Street renaming

Fawn Drive and Grenadier Lane renamed ‘Nina Cooley Way’


Town supervisor Angie Carpenter recently joined members of the community at a ceremony commemorating the life and legacy of Nina Cooley with the symbolic renaming of the intersection of Fawn Drive and Grenadier Lane as “Nina Cooley Way.” The celebration on June 20 honored Cooley’s lifelong dedication to veterans, her community and her family.

Nina Cooley’s journey began in Brooklyn during World War II when her brother Stevie’s draft inspired her commitment to supporting service members. She channeled her concern into frequent letter-writing, a practice that became her lifelong mission. After the war, Cooley married Harold, a United States Army veteran, and they began their family in Levittown, where Cooley’s involvement with Amvets Post 44 in Hicksville first took root.

Cooley’s leadership within the Amvets Ladies Auxiliary was remarkable. She served as New York State historian, then treasurer, before becoming the youngest New York State Department president in the organization’s history. In 1960, while expecting her fifth child, Nina and Harold acquired the Twins Inn bar and two-lane bowling alley in East Islip, which led to the formation of Amvets Post 18 in 1963.

The Cooleys’ commitment to veterans and community was unparalleled. Nina founded the Ladies Auxiliary Post 18 in 1965, becoming its first charter president. Under her leadership, Amvets Post 18 became a hub of community activity, hosting bingo nights, parades, and various holiday events for families.

Nina’s grandson shared personal stories, highlighting her impact on the community. He recounted how the Cooleys’ pool became a gathering place for neighborhood children and how Nina’s “Gram’s Day” tradition every Wednesday during summer brought together generations of her family.

For over 70 years, Nina wrote letters, sent Christmas cards, and care packages to soldiers worldwide. She also integrated these efforts into local school districts, implementing flag poster and essay contests, creating a bridge between veterans and the community.

“Nina did what she loved and wanted nothing in return,” her grandson shared. “She loved everyone for who they were, never judging and always seeing the good in everyone.”

“Nina truly embodied a spirit of service, patriotism, and unwavering dedication to our nation’s veterans and their families,” said Islip Town supervisor Angie Carpenter. “As you pass by Nina Cooley Way, may you be inspired by her lifelong dedication to serving others, and the sentiment that so guided her life, ‘One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one Nation, evermore.’”

Nina’s legacy lives on through her extensive family, including eight children, 22 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren, as well as the countless lives she touched in the community. 


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