Dorothy Jeanne Cole passed away on June 7, 2021 at her home in Elgin, Texas. Jeanne started life on July 5, 1924 in Fort Towson, Oklahoma, born to parents Dale and Lila Cecil (Folkes) Willson. She was the oldest of her sisters, Betty Lee and Virginia (Ginger). When Dale’s picture show burned down in Oklahoma the family moved to Ledbetter, Texas where her grandmother lived.
With an opportunity to purchase the theater in Elgin, the family moved to start a life there. Life in Elgin was a good one. The family lived in boarding houses until building their home on 8th Street in 1935.
Jeanne began her schooling in Elgin and graduated from Elgin High. During the summer before her senior year, Aubrey Cole came to Elgin to stay with his sister and brother-in-law, Margaret and Wesley Niebuhr. Enamored with Jeanne, Aubrey asked his parents if he could complete his senior year of high school in Elgin. Aubrey and Jeanne married as Aubrey was heading off to war. While he was gone, Jeanne worked at Camp Swift. The couple moved to Austin upon Aubrey’s return, and both attended the University of Texas.
A job offer took Aubrey and Jeanne to Houston where their children, Melissa and Gordon, were born. Aubrey’s career eventually took them to Hamilton, Ohio, New York City and Wilton, Connecticut. No matter where life took them, Jeanne’s first love was Elgin. She loaded the kids into the car after the last day of school in Ohio and headed south to spend the summer in Elgin. Another long drive brought them back each Christmas. The house on 8th Street was always the destination and is still occupied by family today - granddaughter Erin and her family.
Jeanne was a Girl Scout leader (who disliked camping), a church volunteer, an Elgin Cemetery Association member, and a devout visitor to the Elgin Nursing Home where she socialized and helped with meals. She loved a good joke, laughed easily, and played with children, as if one. Her friendships defied age groups. A member of an unnamed but famous coffee group, Jeanne counted these women as her closest friends and their daily coffee chats a meaningful joy in her life. Jeanne loved people – young people, old people, new people, familiar people. She traveled the world and relished meeting people of other cultures. But most of all, she loved the people of Elgin.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her husband Aubrey, sisters, Betty Lee Dildy (brother-in-law, Harold) and Ginger Ludwig (brother-in-law, Ruben), son-in-law, Mike Reusing, niece, Diane Dildy and nephews, Lee and Dale Dildy.
She is survived by her children, Melissa Cole and Gordon Cole, grandchildren, Tim and Vivian Pugh, and Erin and Clint Flores, great grandchildren, Ava Pugh, Cole Pugh and Aubrey Flores, nieces, Jody Mayfield (Dayne) and Vivian Dildy, and great nieces and nephews, Cayden (Francheska) and Ana Mayfield, Megan Dildy (Tanner, Madison) and Tessa Quintana (Matt, Noah).
For the last year of life, Jeanne had loving care given to her by Martha Mwale, Rerai Jonga, and Mary Nakibuka. The family will forever be grateful to these strong women who Jeanne loved. Equal gratitude is given for her sisterhood – Glynda Schroeder, Sylvia Hudson, Laverne Owens, Donna Keeling, Julie Hudspeth, Avis Cureton, Gloria Hamilton, Fran Smith, Rosemary Meredith, Judy Davis, Dorothy Davis, Joyce Love, Gwen Rivers, and Heather Lewis.
A celebration of Jeanne’s life will take place at a later date.
Arrangements entrusted to Providence-Jones Family Funeral Home.