Leonard Ivan Cole, Jr.,
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LCDR, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Milton, Fl., - Leonard Ivan “Jim” Cole, Jr., passed away on February 2nd, 2019. Born 23 May, 1931 in Richford, New York.
Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1948 at the age of 17 and within 2 years was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon completion of NAPS program he was accepted into the U. S. Naval Academy where he spent 4 years attaining a Bachelor of Science degree and graduated in 1954 and commissioned as a Naval Officer with orders to flight school in Pensacola, Florida. He earned his ‘Pilot Wings of Gold’ and was designated Naval Aviator number T-5008 on December 7th, 1955. In April of that year he married the love of his life Mary Leora “Lee” Underwood of Lisle, N.Y. and she joined him down in Pensacola while he completed his flight training and was then assigned as an instructor (termed Plow-back) training the new students in Basic and Radio Instruments flying the T-34 Mentor and T-28 Trojan aircraft. Throughout his 20 plus year career he earned a second Bachelor of Science degree Meteorology in 1965 from the Navy Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California and flew numerous types of aircraft including the T-33 Shooting Star (aka T-Bird), F-11 Tiger, F9F-2 Panther, FJ-4 Fury, S-2F Tracker, T-34A/B models, T-28B, SNJ Texan, SNB-5 Twin Beech, AD-5 Skyraider, TF-1/C-1A Trader (Carrier based transport), U/RC-45J, the HU-16D Albatross, and UCUSJ. Interesting note that he amassed 2847.7 flight hours, was a carrier trained pilot and served in USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CVS-12), and USS Iowa (BB-61) during the Vietnam War. He was assigned to various duty stations around the nation and the world, notably Pensacola, FL., North Island (Imperial Beach/San Diego), Mountain View, Long Beach, Monterey, CA.; Agana, Guam NAS; and finally NAS New Orleans, LA., retiring in June 1974 at the rank of LCDR. He is entitled to wear the National Defense Service and the Vietnam Service Medals.
In his post Naval service he trained under the GI Bill at the local Vocational Technical School in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning mechanics and got his Realtor Associate license. This allowed him to assist Lee in her Real Estate sales career and manage repairs for their clients and their own real estate portfolio. Interesting to note that after he retired he never worked for any other company except as a partner in Lee Cole & Associates, Inc. Real Estate brokerage firm there in the New Orleans Westbank and Metropolitan area. He worked for himself (and Lee) in home investing, renovation and repair often retaining the properties as rentals or selling them upon completing the renovations. Jim taught us skills in the renovations and we became painters, cleaners, gophers and general unskilled labor. But we learned more than we even knew. We learned discipline and dedication and that hard work pays off through his example.
Dad had his interests in home repairs, rental management, hunting, fishing and boating. For a time in New Orleans he went shrimping on his boat complete with nets and outboards in the Bayous of South Louisiana and Gulf of Mexico. Gigging for flounder on sand bars, fishing for red-fish, water skiing in Bayou Barataria, or running out to our fish camp and learning to handle his boat were some of our fond memories growing up in Louisiana.
Jim was preceded in death by: his father, Leonard I. Cole, Sr.; his mother, Huldah C. (Arnold) Cole; his daughter, Dr. Sheri Ellen Cole, DVM; his brother, Wallace Cole; and his sisters, Bertha Lee and Delores Dixon.
Jim is survived by: Mary Leora (Underwood) Cole, his wife of 63 years; his children: Connie Cole; Dr. Randall Cole, DDS, (Karen); and Gregory Cole, LCDR, U.S. Navy (Ret.), (Carol); 8 grandchildren: Sherice Farmer (Mark); Sheri Lee Boudreaux; Ryan Cole; Ashleigh Paschal (Donald); Kimberly Valdez (Matthew); Jenna Cole, Mikaela Cole and Kristina Cole; 5 great grandchildren: Christopher; Brent; Tucker; Savannah; and Laylah. He is also survived by his two sisters, Ruth Beebe of Endicott, N.Y. and Joyce Storie of Owego, N.Y.
Dad will be truly missed. We love you.
Services will be held at Trahan Family Funeral Home of Milton, Florida on Thursday, 07 February, 2019 from 5 to 7 pm (6539 Trammel Drive Milton, Florida). A Military Honors funeral will be held Monday 11 February at 0930 am at Barrancas National Cemetery on Pensacola Naval Air Station. All are welcome to attend.