Willard Clifford Cole, 95, passed away peacefully December 18, at his home in Fort Worth, Texas.
Willard was born September 29, 1925 in the home where he was raised in Buena Vista to the late Ruth and Clifford Cole. He was an avid basketball player and played on the Buena Vista 1938-39 Basketball Team, who were undefeated, Carroll County Champions. He graduated Hollow Rock/Bruceton Central High School Class of 1943. During WWII, he served in European Theater of Operations as U.S. Army sergeant with the 125th Evacuation Hospital from April 1944 to June 1946. While in the service, Willard played guitar in a combo named Hut-2-5, documenting the towns where they played on the back of his guitar. He enjoyed music his entire life.
September 7, 1947, Willard married Aline Cary in Buena Vista, in Mt. Nebo Baptist Church. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee in Mechanical Engineering in March 1951. Upon graduation, he worked for Union Carbide in Oak Ridge, and Atomic Energy Commission in Paducah, Ky. They moved to Fort Worth in 1955 to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating with a degree in Theology. He worked 33 years for the Texas Highway Department designing bridges, retiring in 1991 as District Bridge Engineer. Willard’s personality was one that was easy going and always considerate of others with a quiet demeanor. His patience was beyond measure and his absolute faith in God remained unshaken.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Aline Cary Cole; sisters Blanche Birdwell and Louise Smothers.
He is survived by two daughters, Pamela Cole (Patrick Gallagher), and Susan (David) Pels; one sister, Ada Ruth Kelly; four grandchildren; and a host of nephews and nieces.
The service may be viewed at www.facebook.com/thompsonfuneralhome.