William Hoffman Cole
December 30, 1930 – December 30, 2022
William Hoffman Cole “Bill” was born in Houston, Texas, on December 30, 1930, to William Judson Cole and Corinne Rose Cole and died on December 30, 2022, at the age of 92. Bill is a graduate of Pasadena, Texas, High School, Southwest Texas State University, with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He received a second master’s degree and worked toward a doctorate degree in English literature from the University of Iowa. He served two years in the armed forces. He received a teaching position in English Literature at Clarkson College of Technology in Potsdam, New York, after leaving the Army. It was in northern New York where he met his future wife, Mary Jane Clift, who was also a native Texan. They were married on August 25, 1962, in Denison, Texas. They made their first home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where Bill taught English Literature at Wisconsin State College.
Over his 92 years, Bill taught English and American Literature at several colleges. He also owned and operated two movie theaters in Shenandoah, Iowa. Bill was an avid bicycle rider most of his life, a lover of classical music, old movies, and antiquities. He enjoyed telling jokes that played with the English language; had an uncanny ability to remember historical data/dates; he was a collector of records and antique talking machines beginning with Thomas Edison up to the present day.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, W.J. and Corinne Cole, and one brother, Donald Cole. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Jane Cole; 3 children: Cassandra Putnam and husband, Bob; Clifton Cole and wife, Colleen; Andrea Nebel and Stephen Spurlock; 7 grandchildren: Kirsten Putnam Husmann, Jack Putnam, Dustin Nebel, Bridger Nebel, Cole Nebel, Hunter Cole, and Madison Cole; 4 great-grandchildren: Bentley, Jase, Levi, and Ellie; a niece, Janna Cole Bennett and a nephew, Judson Cole; several cousins and many friends.
A memorial service will celebrate Bill’s life on January 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 925 S. 84th Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68114.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials be given to the Music Fund of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.