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Thomas J. Cole

COLE , Thomas J. Mr. Thomas J. Cole , 91, a retired Baltimore City high school teacher and poet, passed away at his home in Baltimore on May 20th after a long fight with cancer. He was the youngest of eleven children. Mr. Cole graduated from Baltimore City College in 1941. In 1942 he enlisted in the US Navy and served in the south Pacific aboard a PT boat tender, the USS Portunus. While at sea, he was selected by the Navy to enroll in the Navy's V-12 program of advanced civil schooling, as a step in becoming a commissioned officer. He completed two years of V-12 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, before the program was terminated by the Navy in 1946. He was later invited to complete his BA degree at Muhlenberg, which he did in 1950. He later earned an MA degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania. After the war Mr. Cole became editor and publisher of IMAGI, an international poetry magazine, from 1947 to 1960. It was through IMAGI that he came to know and become friends with the poet William Carlos Williams. It was during this period that the poet Ezra Pound asked William Carlos Williams to arrange for Mr. Cole to visit him at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington DC. Mr. Cole agreed and began periodic visits with Ezra Pound in 1949 that continued through the remainder of Pound's stay at St. Elizabeth's, and later with visits to Pound's home in Italy. As a poet he was published in five poetry anthologies dating from 1953 until 1978, and in various publications including the Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Contemporary Poetry, Imagi, Inferno, Kavita (India), Nine (London), Poetry (Chicago), Shenandoah, The Tiger's Eye, Voices, Whetstone, Interim, Here and Now (Canada), Contemporary Verse (Canada), and others. Additionally, he published two books of his own poetry: A WORLD OF SAINTS in 1956 and PRAISE TO LIGHT in 1988. He also wrote a number of published essays and reviews. In 2005 he edited and published POEMS by Philip Murray. Mr. Cole taught English and English literature in the Baltimore secondary school system for 16 years starting in 1956. Eleven of those years were at Eastern High School. Also he won a Fulbright Fellowship to teach American Literature in Denmark for a year in 1966. Mr. Cole is survived by his partner and companion Mr. Roy Wallace of Baltimore; and various nieces and nephews, notably Mrs. Mary Esworthy of Mt. Airy, Mrs. Susan Drohan of Catonsville, Mr. Howard Becker of Ellicott City. Mr. Paul Griffin of Ramona, CA, Mrs. Joann Griffin Jarvis of Chula Vista, CA, and Mr. David Cole Gump of Elk Grove, CA.
A memorial gathering for family and friends will be held at 10828 Summit Ave, Woodstock, MD, on Sunday June 2 at 2 pm . Interment will occur on June 3 at 10 am at Druid Ridge Cemetery. A Mass will be dedicated to Mr. Cole on June 9, 9 am at St. Philip and James University Catholic Church at 2801 N. Charles Street in Baltimore. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Gilchrist Hospice Care, 11311 McCormick Rd, Suite 350, Hunt Valley, Maryland 21031. Arrangements entrusted to Maryland Cremation Services.

Published in Baltimore Sun on May 26, 2013
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