Portrait from the January 31, 1944 Caroll Times Herald.
Iowa yields another oddly named judicial figure in the person of Fenn Hesden Cooney, a long-time Carroll County resident who would serve several years as Carroll County Attorney; later being appointed as a District Court Judge for Iowa's Sixteenth judicial district. A lifelong resident of Iowa, Fenn Hesden Cooney was the son of Merrill Mathews and Adella Miller Cooney, his birth occurring in Coon Rapids, Iowa on January 31, 1889.
A graduate of the Coon Rapids High School in the class of 1906, Cooney later attended the University of Iowa at Ames, graduating from there in 1910 with a degree in civil engineering. He eventually decided upon a career in law and in the early 1910s enrolled at the University of Ann Arbor in Michigan, earning his degree in 1915. He was admitted to the Iowa bar shortly after his graduation and returned to Carroll County to begin practice. Notice is also given as to Cooney's service in the First World War, being a veteran of the Army. He married in Carroll County in June of 1920 to Clara Bell Culbertson (1887-1955) and the couple would remain childless through the entirety of their marriage.
Following his return to Carroll County Cooney was brought aboard the law firm of Salinger, Reynolds and Meyers, later having his own name added to the firm's title. He would be affiliated with that firm until 1925, whereafter he left to operate a solo law practice out of the "Room 203 Masonic Temple" in Carroll, Iowa. He would continue to operate this practice until 1926 when he won election as Prosecuting Attorney of Carroll County. Cooney held this post until 1932 and went on to serve two further years in that office in 1935-1936.
After leaving office Cooney continued to operate a law practice until January 1944, when then-Governor Bourke B. Hickenlooper appointed him as District Judge for Iowa's Sixteenth district, filling a vacancy occasioned by the death of Judge Peter J. Klinker, who had died a few days previously. Cooney would serve on the bench until his death seventeen years later on June 16, 1961 at St. Anthony's Hospital in Carroll. A longstanding member of the Iowa State Bar Association, Cooney was also a past commander of the American Legion Post at Carroll and was also viewed as a scholar on Abraham Lincoln, having put together "an exhaustive collection of books" on the 16th President.
The seventy-two-year-old Judge had been preceded in death by his wife Clara, who had died at age 68 in 1955. Both were interred at the Carroll City Cemetery in Carroll, Iowa
Fenn H. Cooney, from the 1915 Michiganensian Yearbook.