Thomas Edward “Ed” Cole

December 5, 2019

Thomas Edward “Ed” Cole was called home by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Thursday, December 5, 2019.  He died peacefully at the age of 97 following a rich and full life of love and compassion for his family and friends.

Visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2019, at Stephen F. Austin State University, in the Twilight Ballroom of the Baker Pattillo Student Center.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, at the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches with Reverend Nathan Hodge officiating.  Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.

Ed was born July 22, 1922, in Homer, Louisiana. He was predeceased by his parents, Edna and Thomas Edwin Cole; sisters, Johnette Brazil and Helen Mallard; brother, Hiram Cole; and beloved wife, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Peck Cole.

Ed grew up in Longview, Texas; attended welding school; and served in the Air Force during World War II in England. He started his own oil field equipment rental and blow out preventers business in south Louisiana in 1958.  Ed married Gwen Peck, the love of his life, on February 14, 1966.  They lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, until they retired to Nacogdoches in 1978.

In service to the community, Ed was a member of the Nacogdoches Rotary Club, Booster Club, and a longtime member of First United Methodist Church.  He and Gwen adopted Stephen F. Austin State University as their extended family. He served as a trustee for the SFASU Foundation, and was a member of the Lumberjacks Booster Club, Friends of Music, the College of Fine Arts Dean’s Circle of Excellence, and was an avid fan at athletic games and luncheons.

Through their generosity, SFA has prospered with the following and much more:

Ed and Gwen Cole Art Center;

Ed and Gwen Cole Concert Hall;

Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for Music;

Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for Theater;

Ed and Gwen Cole Lady Jacks Basketball Scholarship;

Ed and Gwen Cole Lumberjacks Basketball Scholarship;

Ed and Gwen Cole Audiology Lab;

Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship in Audiology;

Ed and Gwen Cole Simulation Lab within the DeWitt School of Nursing;

Ed and Gwen Cole Student Success Center;

Ed and Gwen Cole Endowed Scholarship for STEM;  

Ron Anderson Endowed Scholarship for Music; and

Ed and Gwen Cole STEM Building.

In May 2019, SFA awarded Ed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters – the highest honor the institution offers - for his generosity and devotion to the university.

Ed is survived by a nephew, Jerry Cole and wife Linda, of Tyler, Texas and a niece, Linda Pierce, and husband Jimmy, of Shreveport, Louisiana as well as numerous great nieces and nephews and their families.  

Pallbearers include Doug Cole, Harold Hall, Buddy Himes, Fred Khalaf, Chris Nickens David Rose, Mark Moze and Steve Wright.

Honorary Pallbearers: Yates Stevens, Steve Westbrook, Sam Smith, Leon Hallman, Aaron Polk, Floyd Dobbs, Bill Elliott, Vyrne Shofner, Joe Max Green, Kevin Bradford, members of Rotary Club, members of Booster Club, and members of the First United Methodist Church.    

Per the family’s request, memorials in honor of Ed Cole should be made in lieu of flowers to the First United Methodist Church of Nacogdoches or to Stephen F. Austin State University Foundation.  

Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, Nacogdoches.

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