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Charles Russell Cole


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Charles Russell Cole Obituary
February 27, 1931 - October 4, 2016 Charles Russell Cole, 85, a pioneer in computer sales, sales training and sales management, passed away at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He was born to Dorothy Boswell and Charles Cole in Washington, D.C. He attended high school in Oakland, CA and Warren, OH where he graduated in 1948. He enlisted in the Navy, and became the Radioman on Hurricane Hunter B-10 flights, flying into the eyes of hurricanes off the East Coast. Chuck worked at Sears Roebuck while attending Toledo University, and won contests to sell the most vacuums. He went to work for IBM in 1954 as a Systems Engineer, and began building his vast network of friends with whom he kept in contact until his last weeks. He eventually moved into sales for Bendix, Control Data Corporation and Scientific Data Systems, where he was Vice-President of Sales. In 1968, Chuck co-founded Tratec, Inc., a company specializing in sales and management training, primarily for the high-technology industry. Tratec became the premier training company, and went public in 1971. Tratec was the most profitable company in the training business and was recognized by INC magazine in their initial listing of America's 100 fastest growing companies. Tratec and Chuck Cole were also featured in case studies by Professor Ben Shapiro for the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Tratec was sold to McGraw-Hill in 1979, and Chuck became a group vice-president of McGraw-Hill following the sale. Chuck taught Sales Force Management at USC for 3 1/2 years, and guest-lectured at UCLA, Cal Tech, LMU, UN Reno, and overseas. From 1983 to 1994 he was a General Partner of Julian, Cole and Stein, a firm specializing in investments in high technology companies. His role was hands-on, with active guidance of key management, and assisting the companies in establishing agreements and partnerships in the US, Japan, England, France, Singapore, and the People's Republic of China. From 1992 on, Chuck was an executive consultant, and consulted to LBI, Inc. primarily to recruit sales people and do sales training. When LBI was sold in 2007, he continued to mentor young business people, many of whom credit him with helping them to start their own successful businesses. He was on the boards of 20 companies, Chairman of the Board of 5 companies, and was inducted into the Warren G. Harding High School Hall of Fame in 2008. Chuck was a larger-than-life storyteller who "never let the truth get in the way of a good story." He had many passions: he read 2 books a week and 2 newspapers a day, and loved to share good book tips. He read the Obituaries every day, and was delighted when his name was not listed! He was an avid fan of all sports, and a golfer and former member of Riviera Country Club. He loved travel, theater and musicals, all types of music, dogs, good food and good wine. When his sons were younger, Chuck coached Little League and other sports, and later coached T-Ball and Basketball for his daughter. He was a member of the Methodist Church in Santa Monica, where he took Bible study classes, ushered on Sundays, and was on the Finance Committee. Chuck was loved by many and left an indelible impression on their lives. He could start a conversation with anyone, and said about himself that he "never met a stranger." His optimism was boundless and carried him through a difficult struggle with cancer. He is deeply missed by his wife, Linda; his sons David, Christopher and Kevin; his daughter Katherine; 4 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren. Donations may be made in his memory to spcaLA, or to St. John's Health Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 23, 2016
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