Charles Edwin Cole, 89: veteran, active in community

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SCARBOROUGH — Charles Edwin Cole, 89, died in his sleep Nov. 25 with his wife and grandson Luke at his side. He was one of four children of John and Rita Cole.

Cole was born in Gardiner on Sept. 28, 1923, and graduated from Gardiner High School in 1943, where he excelled in basketball and hockey. During World War II, he served aboard the USS Hornet, participating in major battles throughout the western Pacific. Later, he was employed by New England Telephone Company as a central-office switchman and retired in 1983 after 37 years. 

Cole met his future wife, Barbara Purdy, a telephone operator, while she was having lunch with his mother. He frequently paid visits to her home on Northern Avenue. They were married June 29, 1947, and spent their honeymoon at Square Lake. They had two sons, Fred and John.  

Cole had many interests. He golfed on most of the courses in Maine, and was an avid woodwooker, duck hunter and fisherman, as well as an amateur radio operator with the call sign N1ESW. He loved taking his family to a log cabin on Seboomook Lake.

Cole was a member of the Gardiner American Legion, a 50+ Year Member of Herman Lodge #32 A.F. & A.M. in Gardiner, and a Past Master of Mid-Coast Maine Grand Council #205, Knights Templar. He also held many other Masonic posts, and for over 20 years, was the Gardiner DeMolay Chapter Dad and the DeMolay basketball coach. With a reputation as being conservative, tough-minded and extremely practical, he was a righteous man who quietly helped many people in need. 

He was predeceased by his parents and siblings. 

Cole is survived by his wife, Barbara, of Scarborough; son Fred and his wife, Nora; son John and his wife, Beryl; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  

There will be a Masonic service at Staples Funeral Home at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, followed by a full military graveside service at Oak Grove Cemetery. After the burial, friends and family are gathering at Highland Avenue Methodist Church in Gardiner for light snacks and reminiscing.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in blessed memory of Charles Cole, Scarborough Maine Veterans Home, 290 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough ME 04074.

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Charles Edwin Cole