Ronald Francis Cole, Sr.
May 6, 1933 – December 24, 2020
Ron, 87, slipped the bonds of earth on Christmas Eve morning.
He began his life in the Bronx, New York, born to Sadie “Sarah” Sceviour and Samuel J. Cole. He was the 4th child in a family of eight children. Ron experienced all one would expect growing up in a large Irish-Catholic family in that era in the Bronx. He recounted the summer scares of polio that kept people away from Jones’ Beach, and of going to buy bread down on Arthur Avenue for his mom. No surprise, Ron’s favorite sport teams were the New York Giants, the New York Yankees and the New York Rangers, the love for which he enthusiastically passed on to his children.
After graduating high school, Ron joined the Air Force. He trained as a radio operator, and then boarded a troop ship to join in the conflict in Korea. Ron served as a radioman aboard surveillance aircraft. He always said that Korea was the coldest he had ever been.
Returning to the States, Ron was eventually assigned to Tinker AFB, OK. It was then he met the lovely Mary Helen Sabala. They were married Jan. 8, 1955 in Little Flower Church, Okla. City. After nearly 41 years of marriage, Mary passed away on Jan 2, 1996. They were the proud parents of 4 boys who ensured their life together was full and busy.
Ron began his career in Air Traffic Control with the CAA (later to become the FAA) in Miami, FL. The couple wanted to maintain Oklahoma roots, so he took a transfer to the OKC Center where he stayed for the remainder of his long career. Ron retired with 36 years of service in 1988, having made many great friends and surviving the Reagan / PATCO conflict.
On June 2, 2004 Ron married Tabitha Ann Imes, establishing a home where they would continue to enjoy their children and grandchildren together.
Ron was an avid reader, particularly about WWII history, but Golf was his favorite pastime. Calling themselves the 3 Stooges, Ron (Curley) Cole played many years at Willow Creek with Edd (Moe) Minx, Rick (Larry) Landis and Bill (Shemp) Adams. He achieved 3 holes-in-one and loved travelling with his Air Traffic buddies for golf weekends and tournaments.
During his sons’ growing up years, the family became very involved in youth hockey. Ron assisted with coaching and refereeing. He and Mary burned up the roads, establishing their own CB radio handles as they caravanned to get the boys to their tournaments. He continued to support the local hockey teams, Stars and Blazers, for many years. During his time at FAA, Ron also took flight training and obtained his single-engine pilot’s license. He rented a plane from time to time and flew the boys to a few near-distance hockey games.
Ron is welcomed in heaven by his late wife, Mary; parents Sarah and Sam Cole; sisters Anna Doris Mastromatteo, Mary Loretta Niblock and Barbara Marie Bosco; brothers John “Jack” Cole and Robert Vincent Cole.
Ron is survived by his loving wife, Tabitha; brothers Joseph Gerard Cole and Edward Ray Cole; sons Ron, Jr, Robert “Bobby” and wife Terri, Richard “Ricky” and wife Angela, and Rodd; stepson Bob Baggett and stepdaughter Abigail Imes. A great host of much-loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren will miss their Papoo and Grandpa, as will many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
Special thanks to Darcy and the staff of Excell Hospice. A very special Thank You to Ilissa Walker, Ron’s home aide for the last 5 years.
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