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William Thomas Cole Jr. “Bill” passed away late Thursday night, October 19, 2017 at his home in St. George, Utah at the age of 83.
Bill was born on June 2, 1934 in McKinney, Texas, to Edith Gist and William T. Cole. He was the oldest of 7 children, and spent the majority of his life growing up in Whittier, California. It was there, that he met his greatest love; Janice Leffler. Jan and Bill have known each other most of their lives, she was 10 and he was 13 when they first met, she has memories of Bill outside her window, playing the Ukulele while serenading her when she was sick from school, she can remember him humorously building her a mallet in woodworking class for her croquet set that he broke. She soon realized with the help of her father, this was just his excuse to come over each day to see her. Bill was in constant pursuit to impress Jan, and even learned to make stain glass. To this day, Jan has his beautiful rose stain glass windows in their home.
Bill is survived by his brothers Philip and Robert Cole, his sister GinnyAnn Cole, many nieces and nephews, and his adopted brother Dennis Leffler. He is also survived by, his soul mate, Janice Leffler Clay and her children, whom he considered his own, which include: Janalee Ingersoll, Debra Rosales, Cheryl Navarro, Doreen Rocha and their families.
Proceeding him in death, are his parents, two brothers, Gary and Kenneth Cole and a niece Heather Cole.
Bill served honorably in The United States Army from 1956-1958. He was an avid hunter, trail blazer, and fisherman. He could predictably be found on these many adventures, with his dear friend and partner in crime, David Rosales. It was on one of his many hunting trips, back in the 1960’s that he first discovered his love for Utah, and decided then, he wanted to retire here.
Bill loved taking care of his home, especially his yard, he loved holidays, dressing up for Halloween to give out candy, hanging Christmas lights, decorating and having the family together for Thanksgiving. Bill was an active member of his community and major advocate for Drug Awareness, as he served as chairman for many years at the St. George Elks Lodge. He enjoyed volunteering his time for “The Hoop Shoot” for kids with his dear friend “Basic- Joe”. Bill was an overall incredible neighbor and friend.
One of his favorite accomplishments was being able to put his trade as a professional woodworker to the test as he volunteered his time with his friend David, in the building production of the Paria Movie Set back in 1997. The department of The Interior Bureau of Land Management awarded him with a plaque of appreciation.
He was a huge fan of Willie Nelson and more often than not could be seen wearing one of his shirts or hats around the house. Bill was a generous and loving man. He was an incredible neighbor, and friend to all that he knew. Despite the difference in age, Bill and Christian Wright became the best of friends in the last five years. Bill saw Christian as a son, and Christian saw him as a mentor and father. Christian was by Bills side in his last year of life helping with all of the things that he could no longer do on his own. Jan and Bill feel blessed to have such wonderful neighbors who have been so supportive over the years and especially in these last few months of his life.
Bill had many passions and interests in his life, but none ever as great as his love for his high school sweetheart and lifelong companion Jan. Jan cared for Bill his whole life especially as he started to get sick. She acted as his nurse and caretaker as well as best friend and lover. This loss will be felt the greatest in her heart as she will never forget the life of memories and beautiful moments they shared together. He always said how lucky he was to have her and his greatest accomplishment in life were the last years they finally spent together retired in a home they shared together. Bill will never be forgotten and will live on in all that knew and loved him.
There will be no funeral for Bill, as per his request.
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