A Life Lived: Jane Cole’s life was packed with love, service

Published 12:59 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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Jane Cole was 93 years old when she died Feb. 9. Her life like a suitcase was crammed full of living.
In addition to being a wife to husband, Melville, and mother to daughters, Vickie and Retha, she was a grandmother to Luke and Laura. Additionally, she worked outside the home. Cole had a lengthy career at North American Rayon Corporation, working as a secretary, and after the plant closed, she worked for a brief time at the Johnson City Eye Hospital.
In addition to her work outside the home, Cole and her husband raised a garden each year and canned a lot of what they grew. “They had to have at least 52 quarts of canned green beans – one for each week of the year. They also grew and canned tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers,” said Vickie, a retired school teacher. “She also grew beautiful flowers.”
You might say her work in the garden was mundane compared to the other things she did. “She was pretty content to stay at home, but she always kept her suitcase packed just in case someone was going on a trip and she was asked to go,” said Vickie. Cole enjoyed trips to Myrtle Beach, some bus trips, as well as several mission trips, which grew out of her love for the Lord and her church.
She went on several mission trips to Townsend, Tn., and Prince Edward Island, Canada, when Joe and Linda Ledford were leading mission efforts in these locations. “She would do anything…cook, clean, teach, do Bible Schools, etc. It was a labor of love for her to serve the Lord,” said Vickie. “She also did mission trips to Venezuela and New Orleans. On one of the mission trips to Venezuela, she carried water all day to flush commodes. But, to her, carrying that water was doing God’s work as much as teaching, doing clinics or backyard Bible clubs. She was willing to do whatever the task required,” said Vickie.
Cole was a charter member of Unaka Baptist Church where she was active for a number of years as Sunday school teacher and Woman’s Missionary Union director. More recently she had attended Elizabethton First Baptist Church, serving as church clerk and WMU director. “My mother loved the Lord, and she loved serving him whether it be at home or in a farway place. She was ready to go wherever He called and do whatever the task required,” said Vickie, who had accompanied her mother on many of the mission trips.
Cole and her husband also loved to camp. “They had an RV and they enjoyed camping and fishing at Roan Mountain State Park and Little Wilbur Campground. They took the grandkids on many of these trips,” Vickie shared.
Cooking wasn’t her favorite thing to do, but if it involved family, she made it a fun thing to do. For instance, she cooked dinner each Sunday and had her family for lunch and oftentimes, friends as well. “She made good chocolate pies and her cinnamon rolls were out of this world,” said Vickie.
Vickie shared that when Moody Aviation first came to Elizabethton, her parents opened their home to some of the students to stay with them. Later they built some apartments and the students stayed in them. “Many times they had dinner with her,” said Vickie.
Cole became close to Moody students, Dick and Cathy Page, and later she and Vickie visited them in Alaska.
Karen McGinnis Elliott on the funeral home tribute page referred to Cole as a “true Proverbs 31 lady.” Elliott remembered her as “a neighborhood Mom, who looked after all of us.”
Donna Proffitt wrote: “It was through Miss Jane’s love of women’s ministries my love for ministries began. Her passion for sharing Christ with others was such an inspiration to me. She will never be forgotten in our women’s ministries and in our lives.”
Jane Cole touched many lives though her kindness, hospitality, and mission work. And, even after she went to the nursing home, she touched lives. One worker wrote: “I am so thankful to have known and taken care of such a wonderful woman. I will miss her hugs and kisses on the cheek more than anything. She truly was special.”
Jane Cole did a lot and served the Lord in a lot of places while on this earth. She helped many make memories – memories that still live though she has moved on to her Heavenly home. Truly, she was a remarkable woman, and for those who knew her, they were truly blessed.

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