Chesterton Tribune

Lee H. Cole dies at 85

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Lee H. Cole, of Liberty Twp. passed away early October 17, 2008 at St. Anthony Memorial Hospital in Michigan City. He was 85.

He was born November 1, 1923 in Woodville, Liberty Twp. (rural Chesterton), the son of Valentine Rue and Loretta May (Brown) Cole who, along with his brothers Jack W. and Don C. Cole, preceded him in death.

On June 5, 1971 in LaPorte, he married Bobbie West O’Dell, who survives.

Also surviving are his daughter Lesa (O’Dell) (Gary) Whitlark and his grandson Jamie Lee Whitlark of Pickney, Mich. and numerous nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces among whom are Tim Cole, Kerry Cole, Kirk Cole, Kim (Cole) Glassley, Rebecca (Cole) Crum with David Crum and buddies Tyler and Gavin Crum, Wendalyn (Cole) Kirpanos with James Kirpanos and sweethearts Zoe and Onora Kirpanos. Also in mourning are the many members of the West family and his faithful dog Ladybug.

Lee was a veteran of World War II and Korea, a Paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, seeing action in the European Theater. In Korea, he received serious wounds shattering his leg when bringing a medic to his unit to attend to the other wounded. Left with others to be evacuated, his unit moved on but came under heavy fire, wiping them out entirely; Lee was the only survivor. His wounds, though with him for the rest of his life, did not prevent him from achieving his life’s goal: being an Indiana State Police Trooper. He joined the ISP in 1952, retiring in 1976 as Detective Sergeant. Upon his retirement, he then worked as an Investigator for the Indiana Welfare Department until retiring fully in 1996.

He made his home on the family farm where he had been born, helping his daughter and others with sheep and walking horse projects in 4-H. He and his wife Bobbie also volunteered as chaperones and guides for the Trojan Guard while their daughter was in school. Lee was a charter member of the VFW, Porter Post 2511.

Lee had early established a reputation as a “Straight Arrow” with his dedication to the precepts and mission of the State Police. There are many in the area who remember being stopped and lectured by him, including some within his own family. Also not forgotten are the many times he went out of his way to help stranded or disabled motorists, once being injured seriously while helping with a stalled car.

Funeral services, Rev. Gene Collings officiating, will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 at White-Love Funeral Home, 525 S. 2nd St. Chesterton followed by interment at Chesterton Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 2-8 p.m. Monday at White-Love Funeral Home.

For remembrances, the family asks everyone to donate to their local police organization in Lee Cole’s memory, or to the VNA Hospice Center, 501 Marquette St., Valparaiso, IN 46383.


Posted 10/20/2008