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William R. Cole IV

Obituary Condolences

William R. Cole IV,passed peacefully on Dec. 29, 2012 at age 86 . Beloved husband of Maxine Hubbard-Cole, son of William Roswell Cole, and Elizabeth Miller, father of William R. Cole V, Martha Baker, Lisa Del Giudice, Kristina Barboza, children of Bill and his first wife Jeanne Camp (deceased), Keeley Rigo,Timothy Cole, children of Bill and his second wife Susan Phenix, and stepfather of Sharon Dolan He was the grandfather of Rachel Rutter, Billy Donovan, Rebecca Holmes, Jimmy Cole, Chelsea Cole, Meaghan and Zachary Ramsey, Abaigeal Cole, Anthony Del Giudice, Ambrose Cole, and James Murphy, and the great-grandfather of Angelina and Isabella Cole. Bill was an accomplished, intelligent, generous, courageous man who knew how to live in the moment and whose family was the most important part of his life. He taught his children to ski, climb mountains, and the importance of family ties. Bill was born in Boston, MA on Dec. 19, 1926, and grew up in Winchester, MA where he graduated from high school in 1944 then served in the United States Navy from 1944 - 1946. After his discharge, he went to the University of Massachusetts on the G.I. Bill, where he received his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951, attended graduate school at Boston University where he earned an A.M. in 1956 and the degree Doctor of Philosophy in History in 1968, all this despite the fact that a high school teacher once told him he was not college material. For most of his career, Bill was a Professor of History at Bridgewater State College where he taught courses in Western Civilization, U.S. History, Labor History, and History of the American Indians. In 1983, he took an 11,000-mile solo cross-country motorcycle trip researching U.S. cliff dwellings. He was described by a colleague as ever the gentleman and a voice of reason whose social history offerings provided a needed dimension to a better understanding of our common American heritage. Bill was also a faculty member who possessed a clear vision of what constituted a more perfect society which led to his passionate commitment to social causes. He was a generous supporter of Native Americans, A Vietnam War protestor, and Civil Rights activist serving as co-chair of the Bridgewater Fair Practices Committee and marching with Martin Luther King in Boston. Upon retirement Bill followed his many special interests including traveling, photography, painting, music, reading and the Boston Red Sox. He became an accomplished watercolorist, was a member of a Barbershop Quartet in College, and watched Babe Ruth play during his last season in Boston. Perhaps his most enduring legacy to his family will be the courage and total lack of self-pity with which he handled his devastating COPD that took his life. A graveside ceremony will be held for Bill at the Mount Prospect Cemetery in Bridgewater, MA, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. The family invites you to join them for a Celebration of Bills Life on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the Lathrop Community Meeting House, Bridge Rd., Northampton, MA. In lieu of flowers, Contributions in his memory may be made to the Respiratory Therapy Department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, 30 Locust St., Northampton, MA, 01060. The Czelusniak Funeral home of Northampton has been entrusted with arrangements.

Published in The Enterprise on Jan. 2, 2013
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