Merle Starr (Harrison) COLE

COLE (Harrison), Merle Starr

Merle Starr Harrison Cole, passed away on October 19, 2013 after a brief battle with cancer. Starr was the eldest of four children born to Wilbert "Cotton" and Jeanette Mantooth Harrison on December 27, 1940, in Lufkin, TX. Starr grew up in Waco, TX, moving to Austin in 1953 at age 12. She graduated from McCallum High School in 1958 and went on to attend Texas Christian University and joined the Delta Gamma Sorority then transferred to The University of Texas. Starr met and married Joe Curtis Cole of Brady, TX, who played football for the T.C.U. They later settled in Austin.

Her parents Wilbert "Cotton" and Jeanette Mantooth Harrison preceded her in death. Starr lived in Round Rock, TX for 32 years. She worked for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for 25 plus years until she retired in 1994.

Starr and Joe were blessed with three children whom they raised in the Crestview area of Austin. She is survived by her lifelong soul mate Joe C. Cole. Their three children Joe Curtis Jr., and wife Lee Anne, Bradley C. and fiancee Andrea Swartout Whitson, and Courtenay C. and husband Stanley Hansen. Starr had 6 grandchildren which she loved dearly. They are Madison and Mason Cole, Kendyl Cole and Chase, Kristen and Amy Hansen. Later in retirement, she attended many, many sports and theater events that her grandchildren participated in. She has always been their biggest fan, no matter the event, cheering loudly, sporting the school colors, and supporting and loving them endlessly.Starr had three sisters Judy H. and husband Orville Lawson, Kathy H. and husband Johnny Blocker and Dell H. and husband Kevin Wilson and many nephews and nieces. There is also a long trail of friends who treasure their memories and will miss our bright, shining Starr.

Starr was a member of The Daughters of the Nile in Austin, and devoted decades of service to making life brighter for patients of the Shriners Hospitals. Making many lady friends in the shrine, Starr became a member of two Poker groups which she really looked forward to playing once a month. At home, Starr loved playing Santa Claus each Christmas and leaves the family with memories for making fun wherever she was.

Services will be A Celebration of Life: November 3, 2013, 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Ben Hur Shrine Center, 7811 Rockwood Lane, Austin, TX 78757.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you support the cause Starr loved most, please make any honorary remembrances donation be made in her name to the Ben Hur Transportation Fund, 7811 Rockwood Lane, Austin, TX 78757 or Shriners Hospitals, 2900 Rocky Point Dr. Tampa, FL 33607 or .

The family wants to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff of Hospice of Austin and Texas Oncology of Round Rock for their loving care. Thanks to the many friends and family members for their pictures, cards and letters of encouragement during her illness.

Published in Austin American-Statesman from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28, 2013