Carol Ann Cockrell Gulley, Daughter of Former Mayor Lila Cockrell, Dies at 74

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Courtesy / Gulley Family

Carol Ann Cockrell Gulley died on Friday, Oct. 4.

Carol Ann Cockrell Gulley unexpectedly passed away on Friday, Oct. 4 following a brief illness. She was 74.

Gulley, a musician, teacher, playwright, and poet, was the daughter of the late Lila Cockrell, San Antonio’s first female mayor who died in August at the age of 97.

Gulley was married to Robert Gulley, a prominent water expert. The two met in the seventh grade, fell in love and were ultimately married for 41 years. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, where she would later teach music after graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. 

Carol also taught music at Longfellow Middle School. 

“Carol was a versatile and natural musician from early childhood, playing piano, accordion, and guitar,” read her obituary published online Monday.

“While music was Carol’s gift to the world, her unconditional love was her gift to her family.” 

Gulley and Robert moved to Washington D.C. for several years, he said, during which she helped establish the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts and put together a theater group for adults with severe disabilities. Back in San Antonio, while working at the Magik Theatre, Carol worked on a program at the juvenile correctional treatment center. 

“She believed in what she was doing,” Robert Gulley told the Rivard Report on Monday. “She had a strong desire to help other people.”

It was a lesson Gulley learned from her mother, whom she said taught her “inclusion and respect for all people.”

“Mother listened to all voices to understand fully the point of view and considered the counsel of many thinkers in her assessments of situations and policy decisions,” she told the Rivard Report following her mother’s passing.

Gulley is survived by her husband, daughter Annalee Gulley of Houston, and sister Cathy Cockrell Newton of Boerne.

Services will be held on Wednesday at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church at 10 am followed by a public graveside service and reception at Mission Burial Park North. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to The Winston Academy of San Antonio.

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