Joseph Edgar Cole, age 88, passed away on Thursday, February 8, 2018, at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton, Oregon. A celebration of life service will be at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at the First Presbyterian Church in Pendleton. A reception will follow at the church in the Rogers Room.
Joe was born in Baker City, Ore., on November 25, 1929, to Nelson and Hester Cole. Joe spent his early life living in and around the small town of Pondosa, Ore. When Joe reached high school, he returned to Baker City to live with and provide care for his grandmother. While attending Baker City High School, Joe excelled in athletics and was captain of both the football and baseball teams.
After graduating high school in 1940, Joe attended college first in Idaho and then in La Grande at Eastern Oregon College. In La Grande, Joe continued his love of athletics as a member of the college boxing team. One day while on a class field trip, Joe met the love of his life, Mary (Jones) Cole. Joe and Mary were wed on March 25, 1950, while still attending college.
Upon graduating college, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army and proudly served as a sergeant first class in the 25th ID. As a soldier, Joe spent 18 months in Korea, most of it on the MLR. Upon signing of the cease fire, Joe returned to Pendleton to his wife Mary. Joe’s life was defined by his love at family and friends and his career as an educator in Pendleton.
As an educator, Joe first served as a teacher at John Murray Jr. High. After gaining his master’s degree from the University of Oregon, Joe became an elementary school principal overseeing Adams, West Hills and Lincoln grade schools. While serving as an educator in Pendleton, Joe was able to provide a positive impact on the lives of many area residents.
Joe spent 66 wonderful years with his wife Mary. During this time they traveled the world together sightseeing, golfing, skiing or just having adventures. Joe also loved the outdoors and camping, hunting and fishing. He would always do his best to include not only family but also friends in all of his exploits.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife Mary and a grandson, Patrick Garton; sister Elizabeth (Betty) Bosworth; brother Gilbert Cole; and stepsister Jo Anne Bellato.
He is survived by his daughter Teri and her husband Doug Garton; son John Cole and his wife Tanja; granddaughter Elizabeth; stepsister Doris and her husband Roy; and stepbrother Gene and his wife Irma.
Memorial contributions in Joe’s memory may be made to the Retired Pendleton Teacher’s Scholarship Fund in care of Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, 131 S.E. Byers Ave., Pendleton, OR 97801.
Send online condolences to the family at www.pioneerchapel.com