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Donald Ora Cole 96 passed away peacefully on January 26, 2018 at the LakeWood Health Center in Baudette, MN surrounded by his loving family.
Donald Cole was born August, 26, 1921 to Lawrence and Selma (Olson) Cole on their family farm in Tolley, ND.
Donald’s family moved to north of Roosevelt, MN during the 1930’s where the family made their home.
He enlisted in the Navy in June of 1942 when he was 20 years old. At the age of 17, Don wanted to enlist into the Navy but his parents didn’t want him to and would not sign the papers. He knew that if he had waited until WWII started and got drafted in would be into the Army, but he wanted the Navy. He didn’t want to sleep in the mud if drafted into the Army.
Don went to training at the Great Lakes Training Center in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. After training he was sent to Philadelphia to join other seamen to be put on a brand new ship that was being put into commission the U.S.S Montpelier a light cruiser. Don would be one of 2000 sailors on the ship; he was serving as Seaman First Class gunner’s mate. The Montpelier had six, five-inch gun mounts. A Director operated the gun but Don had the key required for firing those guns. He sat beside the guns with headphones on and served as a gun pointer.
Don had many stories about his ship and WWII and loved to tell folks about what he had seen and experienced. He was discharged from the Navy in October on 1945. After his release, he was presented with a certificated naming him a “Plank Owner,” following the decommissioning and destruction of the Mighty Montpelier. Don always said, “We wore that ship out.” A Plank Owner was a crew member who was on the ship when it was commissioned until it was junked.
He married Olga Hultkrans on July 1948 and went on to raise three children on the family farm; Emily Turner Parsley (Norval Parsley), Theresa Burton (Bruce Burton), and Donnie Cole. The family also includes four grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.
Besides farming Don also worked at the Willimas Coop Elevator for many years then whant to work for Marvin Windows and Doors for 30 years. Most of his years there he worked in displays. During his employment he spent time helping to clean up after the great fire that burned down Marvin Windows and Doors.
He enjoyed logging, working in the woodshop making things, but most of all Don loved being outdoors. During the warm months he enjoyed planting a garden while working with his wife and family. During his younger years, you could find Don riding a horse, or a team of horses with a wagon or sled bringing back wood to heat their home. Don always enjoyed exercise, until about a year ago you could find him walking down the road past his home for about a mile or two a day. He also enjoyed sitting under his favorite tree, watching birds and other animals. Donald also really enjoyed singing his favorite songs.
Donald was preceded in death by his loving wife, Olga; his parents, Lawrence and Selma Cole; brothers, Virgil, Clifford, Vernon, and Forest Cole; sister, Odell Bahr; son in-law, Bruce Tuner. He is survived by his children, Emily (Norvel) Turner Parsley, Theresa (Bruce) Burton, and Donnie Cole. A Memorial Service for Donald will be held at a later date.