COLE, George R. George was born on November 3, 1918 in Garland, Utah to George and Mary Cole. The family soon moved to Dryden, WA where George Sr. owned and operated the local drug store. George graduated from high school in 1936 and attended Washington State College where he met his future wife, Barbara Carroll. George was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in ROTC and called into service in WWII. He was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, known as "The Big Red One," and fought in nearly every major battle in North Africa and Europe. He was promoted to Captain, and received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart. When George returned home on leave, he married his college sweetheart, Barbara, one week later. George and Barbara celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary in June. Life partners and business partners, George and Barbara went on to build a small chain of successful automotive stores, Thrifty Auto Supply, which they sold when they retired in 1985. George and Barbara had two children, David born in 1950, and Carol Anne born in 1955. They raised their family and lived in Valley until moving to Rockwood Retirement Community in 2003. George was most proud of his family and the accomplishments of the community organizations for which he served, including the YMCA, Lutheran Social Services, the Empire Health Foundation, and Spokane Rotary. He also was active in the Marketeers investment club. He loved to golf and ski, and took great pride in teaching his kids how to ride a bike, pitch a tent, golf, ski, pan fry a trout over a campfire, and toss a horseshoe. Until moving to Rockwood, George was an active member of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and always, a man of unwavering faith. An optimist and a soldier, he battled back from a debilitating stroke three years ago. After recently suffering a fall, George passed away in his sleep on September 7. He is survived by his wife Barbara, son David (Robin) Cole, and daughter Carol Anne (Laird) Vanetta; grandchildren Jody (Jeremy) Wilson, Andrew Kurtz, Ryan Vanetta and Spencer Cole; nephew Steve Cole and nieces Debbie (Frank) Delfer and Kelly (Jack) Berka; cousin Mike (Resa) Briscoe; and numerous grand nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Jack. The family wishes to thank his many friends and colleagues for your warm friendship and camaraderie. You enriched his life immeasurably, and it was his privilege to have known each and every one of you. Remembrances may be made to Lutheran Social Services, the YMCA, the Spokane Rotary Foundation, or
. A celebration of George's life will be held Friday, September 27 at 1 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home & Crematory, 508 N. Government Way, Spokane.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on Sept. 25, 2013