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Robert Wallace Cole

May 13, 1931 ~ January 17, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Robert Cole Obituary

Robert W. Cole (Bob), age 92, of Odessa, FL, passed away on January 17, 2024 after a courageous battle against esophageal/gastric cancer, and a host of other challenges.

Bob was born on May 13, 1931, in Detroit, MI, to J. Lloyd and Marion (Preston) Cole. He attended elementary school at Central Michigan University, and Muskegon, MI schools. Bob graduated from Mount Pleasant High School; attended Central Michigan University; and, graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. He subsequently returned to MSU for post graduate work.

Bob served in the US Army Corps of Engineers with active and inactive duty from 1955 through 1963. As an engineer he trained the troupes in surveying.

His family history in construction started with his grandfather, Lewis D. Cole, who built across the state of Michigan in the 1880’s. Lew’s sons were all builders, and architects, whom with Bob’s father, Lloyd Cole, all passed along the interest in building and construction to Bob’s sons, Robert T. Cole, of Cadillac, MI, and Richard Cole, of Safety Harbor, FL.

Bob’s training and skills started with apprenticeships as a brick mason, and a carpenter. In 1963, he established R.W. Cole Construction, in Cadillac, MI. Work included engineering, design and construction of schools, hospitals, medical facilities, commercial, water and wastewater, industrial plants and bridges. He served as VP of Jutton Kelly Company, of Novi, MI, and the bridge work was developed. In 1970, Bob established Robert Cole and Associates, Engineers to continue to provide engineering, forensic, and design/build projects, inclusive of manufacturing plants across the United States. Florida became the family’s permanent home with a work-related move, in 1982. He loved to do his own work at home and in the orange grove, with Diana as a team, and never formally retired as he was always looking for the “next big job.”

Over his lifetime Bob has given back to the community through leadership roles in churches; the banking industry; Northern Michigan Association of Builders and Contractors; and numerous other community involvement and volunteer roles.

Music has always been a highlight in Bob’s life. He played flute, piccolo, and tuba throughout his school years, and university times. It was his love of music that brought his wife, Diana (nee Toth), of 44 years into his life story. He and Diana met in Cadillac, MI playing their flutes in summer park concerts. From that time on, she and Bob shared their love of music and similar interests through playing piano, flute and piccolo; and singing and playing in community and church choirs.  Throughout their shared lifetime they developed a unity as a couple and built a successful engineering and construction firm.

Bob enjoyed snow skiing, roller blading, sailing, motorcycles, and snorkeling. He was pleased to have taught all of his children how to downhill ski, and Colorado was a favorite destination. He and Diana enjoyed racing (and, winning) sailboats; motorcycle trips to Lake Michigan, and special times exploring new places. His focus has always been on his family and providing for them. Friendships were cherished and treasured.  Bob’s home was always welcoming to others as a place to gather for good times and fellowship. His grandchildren were preciously loved by him.

Bob is survived by his devoted wife Diana; his son Robert Cole (Lesa), of Cadillac, MI; his son Richard Cole (Danielly), of Safety Harbor, FL; daughter Alicia McDonald (Sean), of Tampa; and daughter Ashley Cole. Bob is also survived by eight grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

The family would like to particularly thank all those that lovingly cared for them, during this difficult time.

A celebration of life for Bob will be held at Keystone United Methodist Church, in Odessa, FL, on Tuesday, January 23, at 4:00 p.m., with a light dinner to follow.

The family would like to thank all those from KUMC, and other friends for their support and kindness during this difficult transition. We have been blessed by your love and generosity.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made to the KUMC Food Pantry.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Wallace Cole, please visit our floral store.

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Celebration of Life
January 23, 2024

4:00 PM
Keystone United Methodist Church

Odessa, Florida


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