Noel Edward Cole
9/1/1927 – 9/4/2021
Memorial & Celebration of His Incredible Life
6/18/22 1pm – 5pm
We lost our hero and father, Noel Edward Cole, on September 4, 2021. Noel was born in West Plains, Missouri on September 1, 1927. He joined his sister Grace and brother James, and later younger sister, Fern. After his father died when he was 8, his life took many twists and turns from West Plains, to St. Louis, to Wyoming, Arizona, and Washington. Noel worked hard his entire life. He always did the best he could. He worked the farm with his brother Jim after their father died, ran a gas station, worked as a gandy dancer on the railroad in Wyoming, was a cross-country truck driver, and joined the army at 18. Finally, he settled Washington. If you knew Noel, you know how much he loved a good story and he generously shared his life experiences with everyone he met.
Serendipity stepped in when he met the love of his life, Barbara Jean Tauscher. They met a USO dance at the Olympia Eagles Club while he was based at Fort Lewis. He never forgot the open arms of welcome and acceptance the Tauscher family extended to him from the homestead outside of Chehalis. He served in Japan after World War II where he suffered a life-changing injury. Barbara travelled to St. Louis to be with him and they were married by three Catholic priests, one as the officiant and two as witnesses. Their union was truly blessed. He always said she saved his life.
They moved to Phoenix for a short time before returning to Washington to start their family. He started work at the Yard Birds in 1952. He helped build the original store where Sunbirds currently resides. Eventually, he was convinced to manage the Olympia store, The Sea Mart. After over 20 years there, he returned to the new Yard Birds in Chehalis as store manager where he finished his career and retired after 37 years.
A Passion Project & Life of Service
Noel always had to have a project going so that he could decompress from work and be outside. He built a Longhouse where many family and friends gathered for epic celebrations. Without doubt, his crowning achievement was the two fishponds he dug on the property to raise rainbow trout. In 1982, with the help of committed volunteers from Trout Unlimited and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, he raised Steelhead Salmon that are released into the North Fork of the Newaukum River. Shortly after, he built wheelchair ramps and a path around the pond and began offering barrier-free fishing for local special needs students, facility-bound elders, and disabled veterans. In 2018, the family formed a nonprofit organization, The Noel Cole Fish & Wildlife Project, to continue his work.
Noel was one of the founders and the first chief of Fire District 6 and never lost his connection to the department. On September 1st, his 94th birthday, a volunteer team from the department brought “Chief One” home from the hospital for the last time. He passed peacefully surrounded by family and joined his beloved Barbara.
Noel was preceded in death by Barbara and his son Jeffery. He is survived by Steve (wife Debbie), Greg, (wife Mary), Michele, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren, and treasured nieces and nephews. He is missed by many and will live on in the hearts and memories of the many people whose lives he touched.
A Time to Honor a Great Man
A memorial is scheduled for June 18, 2022 from 1pm – 5pm at the Tauscher family homestead. A processional starts from the District 6 Fire Station beginning at 12:30pm. Participants can line up along 21st Street to join the processional. Donations to The Project can be made in Noel’s memory at https://bit.ly/3GUgSC1.