Robert S. Cole, 96, Batesville, and formerly of Chicago, died Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at St. Andrews Health Campus.
Born Oct. 8, 1915, in Doniphan, Neb., he was the son of Edna (Woodman) and Charles Cole. He married Irene Gies, who preceded him in death in 1942, and later married Anna Mae Jaycox June 21, 1947, at St. Ambrose Church, Chicago.
He served in the Navy during World War II as part of a team that trained Navy bombardiers in the use of the Norden bombsight system. Following active duty, he worked as a clerk for the Burlington Northern Railroad for 33 years before retiring 33 years ago.
Bob was a dedicated family man who loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His family said he was a storyteller, often sharing stories and memories of farming, trains and his Navy days. He spent over 50 years living in the same home in the North Center area. He dedicated many hours to driving neighbors to doctor or hospital appointments, shoveling their walks, mowing their lawns or whatever else he could do to help. His family joked he may have been the only Republican in the 47th Ward. Of course, being a Northsider, he was a dedicated Cubs fan. He was a member of the John Ericsson American Legion Post 1042, Burlington Northern Retiree Association, City of Chicago Senior Volunteer Hall of Fame, as well as a longtime volunteer for the Chicago Boys and Girls Club and a former member of the Chicago Board of Elections.
Bob also had many interests. He liked working in his wood shop, making Uncle Sam garden stakes and birdhouses shaped like train cabooses. Trains weren’t just his job, but also a hobby. He kept a model train layout in the basement. During the holidays, he set up lighted village in all the windows across the front of the house. A farm boy at heart, he raised a vegetable garden and canned what he grew in addition to making homemade tomato juice. At age 79, he and Anna Mae joined a mixed couples bowling league and continued to bowl for the next 13 years. After his retirement, they also enjoyed bus trips to many parts of the country on the Mayflower Bus Tours. His family indicated he had a weakness for coconut cream pie and milkshakes, which may help explain his five- to 10-mile daily walks. In recent years the walks became shorter and not always daily, but he kept at it whenever he could.
He is survived by his wife Anna Mae; daughter and son-in-law Mary Anne and Charles Martz, Batesville; sons and daughters-in-law Robert E. and Deborah Cole, Skokie, Ill., Kenneth Cole, Palatine, Ill., and William and Penny Cole, Cary, Ill.; brother Neal Cole, Lakewood, Colo.; sister-in-law Fran Cole, Rapid City, S.D.; brothers-in-law Joe Jaycox, Chicago, and William Jaycox, Pompano Beach, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife Irene and his parents, he was also preceded in death by his infant son, Robert; sisters Dorothy Olson and Lenora, Gladys, Pearl and Emma Cole; brothers Charles, George and Carl Cole; one grandson; one great-grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. services Saturday, Oct.13, at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home at its Chicago location, 6250 N. Milwaukee Ave. A private burial will be held at Mary Hill Cemetery, Niles, Ill. The family requests no flowers. Memorials may be made to the Hansen Center Oncology Unit.