Our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, James “Jim” Benjamin Cole passed away with his family by his side on May 27, 2023, at the age of 79 years.
He will be lovingly remembered by his former wife of 30 years, Olivia “Livy”; children, Wesley, Marc (Heather), Brad (Andi), Hannah Dye (Andy); grandchildren, Lucas, Katelyn, Ashley, Bryon, Corey, Danyelle, Christopher, Tyler and Dylan Cole and Genevieve, Charlotte, Holten and Thatcher Dye; sister, Lois Arnold; as well as numerous caregivers, friends and relatives.
He will also be dearly missed by his brothers of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 152 and former coworkers of Chapman Corp. (Washington, Pa.).
He was predeceased by his brother, Donald James Cole; and his parents, Frances Margaret (Lough) Cole and Benjamin Isaac Cole.
Jim was born Jan. 12, 1944, the son of Frances Margaret (Lough) Cole and Benjamin Isaac Cole and raised on the family’s farm off Little Indian Creek, near Morgantown. After graduating from Morgantown High School in 1962, he worked as a machinist at Christy’s Machine Shop, then as a tool crib attendant at Sterling Faucet. While at Sterling Faucet, he attended technical school in Uniontown, Pa., where he studied welding. He then served a five-year apprenticeship with Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 152 and worked as a pipefitter for 39 years prior to his retirement. Twenty-seven of those years were spent working for Chapman Corp.
Jim was an outdoorsman and as much as he loved hunting and fishing himself, his eyes lit up when one of his children, grandchildren, friends, or neighbors showed up to hunt on his farm or fish in his pond. He excitedly recalled memories of his elk hunting trips to Creed, Colo., and the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. He was a bookworm and had a profound interest in Civil War history. He believed you should read as much as you can at every opportunity.
He took pride in many things in his life. He took pride in his trade and valued the enduring friendships that came with it. He took pride in his farm and his summer garden that he meticulously tended. He became quite the cantaloupe farmer and found joy in delivering them to friends and neighbors in his truck or golf cart. He also liked sharing his “special secret” for growing such a delicious cantaloupe crop.
Jim will no doubt be remembered for his ornery smile and witty one-liners. Even after a stroke left him unable to speak, the ornery smile remained and he found new ways to communicate and engage with his family, friends and caregivers, especially his longest-serving caregiver, Mabel “Kay” Glover. He traded the tractor and truck for the golf cart, but still he traveled the gravel roads taking in the scenery, stopping at family and neighbors’ houses along the way. On a really good day he’d stop and pick up a grandchild to tag along with him on his ride. He attended retiree breakfasts at the union hall and looked forward to family gatherings at Christmas and Easter and a good Labor Day pig roast. Visits with friends weren’t much different than they had ever been. As special friend, Charlie Fowler, once remarked, “We already know all of his best stories because we all lived them with him.”
Visitation will be held at McCulla Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, June 1, and on Friday, June 2, from 10-11 a.m. A funeral service will be held Friday, June 2, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at East Oak Grove Cemetery, Morgantown.