Charles Cooksley CEng FIET MIMechE, April 1930 - November 2017

20 December 2017
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Charles Cooksley CEng FIET MIMechE

Obituary provided by Cynthia Cooksley

Charles (Charlie) Cooksley was educated at a Quaker Boarding School in Great Ayton between 1939 -1946. At an early age he was keen to become an Electrical Engineer, re-wiring his mother's various homes and the stage lighting at his school. He aimed to go to Manchester University, but it was the time of the School Certificate - applicants had to get credits in at least Maths, English and a foreign language - and French was not one of his strengths.


At 16 years of age he left school to become an Electrical Apprentice with Dorman Long, with one afternoon a week off for study plus evening classes. He proved himself a capable student – studying for six months at Constantine College, Middlesbrough, while working for Dorman Long and achieving a first class HND. 


After completing his studies, Charlie was called to two years' National Service in the Royal Air Force, where he maintained the electrics on aeroplanes, particularly Mosquitoes.  He returned to Dorman Long as a Junior Electrical Engineer, while lecturing on his subject in the evenings and studying Mechanical Engineering.


The opening of the new Steel Company of Wales in Port Talbot was a magnet to Charlie and he started working there in 1954. Initially he was a Production Engineer and later he was promoted to a role installing a new electrical plant. During this period he married Cynthia and they went on to have two daughters.


In 1963 he started full-time lecturing at Glamorgan College of Technology (now a University) and in 1965 he moved to lecture at the Constantine College, Middlesbrough (now also a University). Following this period in academia, he started work in the British Steel Laboratories in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.  His memorable achievements there were negotiating with the Scottish Electricity Board for better electrical tariffs for the shipbuilding and car manufacturing industries, so they could become more competitive.  Another memorable moment was spending a week in the USA, choosing and buying hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of new equipment for British Steel.


Charles was proud to become a Chartered Engineer and Fellow at the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He was also a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  After his retirement in 1990, he worked part-time, negotiating better electricity tariffs for various small companies in Sheffield and checking their accounts.


Outside his career, Charlie played the organ for his local church in Stainton. At first it was for once a month, but this became every other Sunday for most of the 47 years he lived there. After suffering from Alzheimer’s for nearly three years, he died peacefully at home. Charlie was a quiet, well respected member of his village, proved by the fact that there was standing room only at his funeral. He is much missed by his wife Cynthia, his two daughters and five grandchildren.