(News story) Ralph Wallace Cole, who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces prior to his career in dentistry, died Saturday at Browning Masonic Community in Waterville. He was 94.
He died of diabetes and dementia, from which he suffered for the past two and a half years, his family said.
Mr. Cole served as president of the Ohio Society of Dentistry for Children and the American Society for Dentistry for Children during his career. He was also a member of the Optimist Club, Shrine Club, and Masonic Club where he received the Grand Lodge of Ohio Free and Accepted Masons 50-year award.
He was born March 25, 1924, in Toledo to Herbert and Vera Cole.
Mr. Cole was honorably discharged from the military in 1946. Upon his return, he continued to attend Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he had studied before joining the military. Although he didn't complete his undergraduate studies at Denison, Mr. Cole had a special connection with the university, his daughter Cindy Kluczynski said.
He completed his undergrad in 1949 at the University of Toledo and graduated as a doctor of dental surgery from Ohio State University in 1952.
Like his father, who worked in a dental lab, Mr. Cole chose a career in dentistry. He started in general practice in Toledo and later specialized in pediatric dentistry. When he discovered he wasn't busy enough, he returned to general practice, Mrs. Kluczynski said.
"He loved his patients and they became like family to him," Mrs. Kluczynski said. "People felt very comfortable there. We always joked that the dental office had more furniture than our home."
His passion for dentistry didn't stop there. Mr. Cole volunteered to help those who couldn't afford dental care and served on a committee that persuaded the city to add fluoride to its water supply.
This later became a statewide effort, which reduced the number of cavities dentists saw, Mrs. Kluczynski said.
Mr. Cole was also an avid tennis player and golfer, who could play any instrument he could get his hands on, she said. These instruments included a trumpet, trombone, and piano among others.
"He didn't read music, but chords," she said. "Back in the '50s and '60s, restaurants would have organ [players] or pianists, and if they were taking a break, they would ask my dad to come and play."
She added that even during his time at Pathways, a place for people with memory care, Mr. Cole's strong personality shined.
"I knew he was still in there when I could get a smart comment or a funny remark from him," Mrs. Kluczynski said. "My dad was very vocal and interactive. He maintained his manners and positive interactions with people."
He was a funny, sarcastic, well-mannered man, who treated others with respect, she said.
Surviving are his daughters, Chris Simmons, Cindy Kluczynski, and Cathy Rysenga; six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 Main St. in Sylvania. A service will follow at noon at the funeral home. Burial will be at the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo.
The family suggests tributes to Denison University.
This is a news story by Areeba Shah. Contact her at [email protected]
Published by The Blade on Aug. 9, 2018.