Obituary: Harry E. Cooler, Jr.


Prominent Indiana architect Harry E. Cooler, Jr., 90, of Carmel passed away on April 1. Born on Sept. 26, 1925, in Indianapolis to the late Harry Cooler Sr. and Harriett Steinberg Cooler, he graduated from Shortridge High School in 1943. He served in the Armored Artillery of the 20th Armored Division in Germany until the end of World War II, where he helped liberate Dachau on April 29, 1945. Discharged in April 1946, he entered University of Illinois School of Architecture and graduated Cum Laude in 1950.

Harry designed the first terminal building at the Indianapolis Airport. From 1955 to 1999, he had his own businesses from Cooler, Schubert & Olds to The Cooler Group, Inc. On October 12, 1988, his firm completed the Restoration of the Indiana State Capitol Building for which he was awarded the “Sagamore of the Wabash” from Gov. Robert Orr, commemorating its 100th anniversary. His college mentor was Frank Lloyd Wright and he published a book of 30 Contemporary Houses he designed from 1955-1968.

He was a member of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, AIA-Indianapolis Chapter, NCARB, and honors flight 2013. He remained a charter member of Woodland Country Club since 1956 and Sertoma Club of Broad Ripple since 1958, and he became “historian” due to his longevity in each. He and his wife, Dee, wintered in Florida 33 years and enjoyed golfing together and with friends through the age of 89.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Dee, of 65 years; children: Linda (Bob) Lewis of Carmel, Joan (Seth) Appelbaum of Atlanta, Ga., Thomas (Mary Alice) Cooler, William (Ellen) Cooler, both of Carmel, 12 grandchildren: Dave (Emily) and Brian Lewis, Ashley (Matt) Crick, Jason (Corrie) and Dr. Rachel Appelbaum, Kristen, Stephanie and Caroline Cooler, Sam, Kevin, Sara and Lauren Cooler. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Phyllis Jordan and Janet Wagman.

Memorial contributions may be made to Sertoma Club of Broad Ripple’s Charities and IHC.