Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Harold 'Hal' Cole


February 1, 2018

Harold "Hal" Cole, 94, passed away on December 21, 2017, at Libby Care Center in Libby, Mont., with his loving wife, Anita, of 49 years at his side.

Harold was born in Thermopolis on Nov. 2, 1923, the second son of Benjamin H. (Happy) and Ida A. Cole. He attended school in Thermopolis until he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and served with distinction in the European Theater of operations as an airborne radio operator and gunner in the B-24 Liberator.

He participated in the numerous raids on the Piolsti Oil Fields in Romania and other historic battles and raids on the rail yards and rail equipment in Germany. After the war, Harold served in Pakistan, Occupied Germany and Hawaii and flew with the Military Air Transport Service during the Korean War transporting wounded from Seoul to the U.S. Mainland.

He took his discharge from the U.S. Air Force at Hamilton Air Force Base in California where he was NCOIC of Base Housing and where he met and married his wife, Anita, on April 12, 1968. After his discharge, Harold returned to school at Sonoma State College in Rohnert Park, Calif., where he graduated with a degree in geography.

His pass times included fishing, hunting and playing cribbage every chance he had. After school he and Anita bought property in Santa Rosa and Windsor, Calif., and renovated them and then sold and moved to Ulm, Mont., where they both had jobs in Great Falls. Upon he and Anita's retirements, they sold and moved to Libby. He and Anita were active in the VFW and American Legion.

Harold is survived by his wife, Anita, of Libby, Mont.; brother, Franklin (Donna) Cole of Thermopolis; son, Lamont Cole of Cave Creek, Ariz.; daughter, Linda Poole of Middleton, Idaho; grandson, Joey (Jeniffer) Delgado and great-granddaughter, Charlotte Rose Delgado of Caldwell, Idaho; granddaughters, Lenora Poole of California and Yvonne Poole of Oklahoma; nephews, David (Carol) Smith of Thermopolis, Leonard (Marilyn) Smith of Colorado, C.L. Smith of California, L.F. Smith of Riverton and Michael Kah of Germany; nieces, Nan (Jay) Steadman of Thermopolis, Gwen (Reg) Treese of Coulter Bay, Marlene (Richard) Carlson of California, Janene (Rick) Fletcher of Nevada and Sylvia Grunert of Germany.

Schnackenberg and Nelson Funeral Home in Libby is assisting the family with the arrangements. Graveside services will be conducted by the Libby VFW with a luncheon to follow on March 15, 2018.


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