George's funeral will be live streamed. To watch the service, please click HERE
It is with heavy hearts but also the blessing of peace that the family of George Henry Cole announce his passing on December 14, 2022, at Parkland Place Care Home in Melfort, Saskatchewan. He has gone to his home in glory to be with his beloved wife, Margaret.
George was born on March 27, 1927, to Ezra and Violet Cole in Berry Mills, New Brunswick. While George was still an infant, his family returned to the Cole family farm near Resource, SK, which is where he grew up. This is the home where he would eventually bring his bride, and together, where they raised six children.
George was the seventh of 9 children, and if all had been as energetic as he was, it would have been a lively, boisterous household. At 7 years old, he lost his dad and when he was just 16, he also lost his older brother, Stanley. He quickly became the man of the house/farm, a huge undertaking and responsibility for a young man.
George attended Queen’s Park School and only reached grade eight as farm and family duties superseded education. He worked hard grain farming, milking cows, and raising pigs and chickens; there were certainly no modern conveniences and as a young man and farmer, he faced many daunting challenges in the 50’s and 60’s.
George met the love of his life, Margaret Krause, in the summer of 1949, and they married on June 28, 1950. They made their home on the Cole farm, and quickly became a vital part of the Queen’s Park Nazarene Church and many community activities in the surrounding area. In May 1951, they started a family, and by 1962, there were six children. George and Margaret were together to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary before the love of George’s life passed in September 2021. Only then did he truly know what lonely was.
George was a natural athlete and, as much as work on the farm kept him busy, there was always time for baseball and his passion, hockey. He excelled at the sport and in his early 20’s, he had the privilege to meet Johnny Bower, who would take his place in goal at a hockey game in Prince Albert due to an injury that left George unable to play. Johnny Bower was his hockey hero. If you had a hockey conversation with George, he would not hesitate to share the story of his encounter with Johnny (and he may have even shared the story twice!). We’re not sure if this meeting was the beginning of his lifelong fandom of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but through his life, he never wavered in his support for them.
As was common in most families, working off the farm to supplement income was more a given than an option. George worked for the Tisdale Auction Market for many years, during which time, an unfortunate incident with a bull resulted in him losing an eye. Later, he sought employment in Melfort at Dea’s Gastown/Damar Shell, working long hours on the night shift where he made many acquaintances and had many stories to tell.
While working to support a young family, there was little time or money for vacations, but he regularly packed up his crew in the station wagon to head off to Dalmeny to visit with his in-laws and Margaret’s siblings, and even a few times, to McAuley, MB, and Carlyle, SK, to visit his sisters. When the kids were mostly grown and gone, they enjoyed more far-reaching holidays to the East Coast; Pine Point, NWT, where his sister Nellie and family lived; numerous family reunion adventures in Alberta and BC; and special trips to Lumby, BC, to visit daughter Sandy and her family. Perhaps the most special and memorable trip of all was to the northern lakes named after Saskatchewan fallen soldiers – aptly Cole Lake – in memory of his brother, Stanley. George was 78 at the time and still fit and healthy, so he was pretty sure he could outlast his worthy companions, his son, Terry, and Lane Koster (a dear friend and pastor), in their trek. With two canoes and backpacks and a great deal of hiking over rugged land, they reached this special destination and gained a legendary story for George to share with his family.
In 1980, George and Margaret moved to Melfort to be closer to the Nazarene Church, where they were extremely involved. This also brought them closer to work, the golf course, the bowling alley, and other amenities. Dad retired in 1992, and once the yard became too much (because they still planted a huge garden, mostly to give away) and their health started to fail, they moved to Diefenbaker Senior Complex and later, Parkland Place.
George had an incredible passion for God, family, music, his garden, people, and sports. He took up golf later in life and played (almost daily) as time would permit. He also took up bowling (also almost daily) and traveled to Timmins, ON, with the provincial senior bowl team to play at Nationals. When he asked Margaret if it bothered her that he golfed and bowled so much, she replied that it got him out of the house (she cherished her alone time!).
George’s great love was his gift for singing. He sang all the time and would harmonize with Margaret at church, community functions, and just about anywhere he was. Accolades shared with the family in the last few days have revealed just how much he loved to sing and how much it was appreciated.
A favourite time of year for George was Christmas, and it is ironic that he leaves this world at this season. He read the Christmas story of our Saviour’s birth faithfully, and Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were always spent with his sisters, the Woods and the Kvalnes, taking turns hosting. Fellowship, food, board games, and music permeated the house, which made his heart happy.
George had a great passion for many things, but his greatest pride and love was for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If he could physically be there to cheer them on, he was. At hockey, baseball, football, figure skating, musical events, graduations, and school/church concerts, he was their biggest fan and so very proud of all of them. He never had a bigger smile than when he spent time with these cherished children and of course, he loved sharing tales of their accomplishments.
George was predeceased by his loving wife, Margaret; an infant son; his grandson, Jeff Mooney; parents Ezra and Violet Cole; Margaret’s parents, Jacob and Helena Krause; his sisters, Daisy, Nellie, Lillian, Bertha, Eunice, Mary; his brother, Stanley (WWII); and three of Margaret’s siblings, Helen, Jake, and Henry.
George will be lovingly remembered by his children, Sandy (Ron) Flater, Debbie (Tom) Treen, Dwight (Arlene) Cole, Val (Glen) Ertell, Brian (Verna) Cole, and Terry (Rona) Hadley-Cole; his grandchildren, Michael Cole, Aaron & Christopher Huber, Jocelyn Watson (Jeff’s wife), Jennifer Althouse, Jordan (Sarah) Mooney, Tawny (Jared) Babcock, Lanaya (Shawn) Graham, Jana Treen, Brandon (Amy) and Clare Flater, Emily and Katherine Cole, and Maria Hadley-Cole; his only remaining sibling, brother Gerald Cole, as well as Margaret’s siblings, John (Adeline) Krause, Pete (Ev) Krause, Mary (Herman) Wiebe, and Agnes Wiebe; 20 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and a community of friends.
George’s family wish to thank the staff at Parkland Place for the care they provided to both their Dad and Mom over the years.
Friends so wishing may make memorial contributions to the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, 1405 Faulkner Crescent, Saskatoon SK S7L 3R5.