James Clayton Cole passed away at the age of 93. He was a beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend to many. He was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in Redwood City, CA with his parents, Theodore Melzar Cole and Katherine Marilla (Mitchell) Cole, and his older siblings: Ted II and Phyllis.
He attended school in Redwood City and graduated from Sequoia High School in 1939. He attended Menlo Community College and then joined the US Navy in 1942. He was stationed in Hawaii and San Francisco. When the War was over, he went to the College of the Pacific (now UOP) in Stockton, CA on the GI Bill.
There he met a lovely violin student named Mildred Elaine Eachus from Dunsmuir, CA, who became his wife in June, 1945. They lived in Redwood City where Jim taught elementary school at Woodside School. His family now included daughters Susan and Janet. Jim received his Master’s Degree in Education from Stanford before moving to New York where he earned his Doctorate in Education from Columbia University.
In 1957, Jim accepted a job at Sacramento State College in the Education Department. His family now included a son, Donald. In 1960, Jim accepted a job through the U.S. State Department and for the next four years, he taught teachers in Haiti and Ankara, Turkey. In Turkey he met Omar Saray, his translator and true friend. He and Mildred opened their home to American Peace Corps “kids” and kept in touch with Jim, Frank, Susie and Gene for over 50 years. While overseas, the family took many short trips to Europe and the Middle East. His work travels would not end there, as he also spent 3 summers in Rangoon, Burma where he again worked with teachers.
In 1964, Jim took a position in the Education Department at CSU, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA, and taught teachers and supervised student teachers until he retired in 1989. He was active in the Academic Senate and enjoyed the lively debates and conversations that took place.
In 1972-73, Jim took a sabbatical leave from CSU Stanislaus and went to Europe for 9 months to study different kinds of elementary schools. He took along the whole family and nephew Carl Eachus. They visited 13 European countries.
Jim loved sailing, hiking with his son, Don, playing chess, and woodworking. He made many beautiful wood items for his family and even once built a boat in Haiti without any formal plans — and it sailed beautifully! He belonged to the Tuolumne Woodworkers Group and when he was younger, he was active in the Masonic Lodge. He was interested in the lives of those around him and had friends around the globe. In addition to traveling for work, he and Mildred traveled the world exploring Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, and North & South America. Jim never got tired of learning about foreign cultures and their customs.
As a teacher and world traveler, Jim touched many lives. He was very patient and mild-mannered, and always had a witty response ready. When we would ask him, “How are you?” he’d say, “Well, for a man my age, I’m doing pretty well!” He loved Mildred, his wife of 70 years. They loved holdings hands and he would often sing to her. His stories, wit, and wisdom will be greatly missed.
Jim is pre-deceased by his parents Theodore and Kate Cole, his sister Phyllis (Henry Kalteren), and his brother Ted II. He is survived by a loving family: his daughters Sue Lewis, Jan Ramsay (Rick), his son Don, his grandchildren Sarah Kline (Scott), Stephanie Lewis and Jeff Cole, his great-grandchildren, Ethan and Betty, his sisters-in-law Mildred Price Cole, Alice-Jane Eachus, Dixie Jaeckle, and Rita Burrows along with many nieces, nephews and their families. No services are planned at this time. The family will celebrate his life at the Cole-Kalteren and the Cole-Eachus annual reunions this summer. In memory of Jim, the family suggests donating books to a school library or supporting a local student teacher. Condolences may be sent to: 1946 Mira Flores, Turlock, CA 95380.