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University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms director will be ‘greatly missed’

March 3, 2023  By Drainage Contractor

The University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms announced earlier this week that its director, Eric Cooley, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the age of 51.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share with you that Eric Cooley passed away,” the farm’s social media post read. “Eric loved his work with Discovery Farms. At times he slept in a tent in a field, got swarmed by mosquitoes and jumped fences running away from bulls. That shows the dedication Eric put into his work.”

Cooley served for six years in the U.S. Navy, where he earned a degree in nuclear engineering technology. He was honorably discharged with a Medal of Good Conduct. He then earned a bachelor of soil science and a master of soil physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In his position with UW-Discover Farms, he “combined his passion for the outdoors with his passion for conservation and sustainability, through research and education.”

“Eric said more than a few times how he couldn’t believe how long he had stuck with this job. But that makes sense, because of how he was able to blend his passion for research, finding solutions and providing service to others.”


In lieu of flowers, his family is requesting memorials be made in the form of a donation to DOOR CANcer, an organization that helps families by alleviating the financial stresses that can come with cancer diagnoses.

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