Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

February 12, 2013

Helena 'Beth' Cole

TRAVERSE CITY — Helena "Beth" Cole was born on July 18, 1922 to Elliott D. and L. Pearl McCracken. She grew up in Berkley and attended Berkley High School where she graduated valedictorian of her class in 1939.

On April 29, 1943, Beth married her best friend, the late James "Bud" Cole in New York City. They shared 68 years together before Bud passed away in 2011.

After the war ended, they returned to Berkley to raise their family. Bud retired in 1975 and headed north to build their retirement home in Suttons Bay while Beth continued working until she retired as the City Clerk of Birmingham in 1977.

While living in Suttons Bay, they made countless new friends. In 1996, Beth and Bud moved full time to Fairhope, Ala., where they enjoyed 10 years of sunshine, warm winters, and many new friends. In 2006, when health issues demanded, they returned to Traverse City where they resided in the Estates at Terrace Bluff. There they were surrounded by caring friends and neighbors. In June of 2011, Beth moved to the Birch Pavilion at the Grand Traverse Pavilions. There she lived the remainder of her life lovingly cared for by the dedicated and compassionate staff.

In her spare time Beth loved gardening, flower arranging, drawing and painting. She and Bud were members of the Grand Traverse Rock and Mineral Club. Beth was a member and past president of the Friendly Garden Club in Traverse City.

Beth is survived by her daughters Marie Cole Graham of Calif. and Teresa (Jeff) Cole Mattis of Suttons Bay; grandchildren Deborah (Sam) LaFon of Calif., Melissa Graham of Wash., Eric (Kristina) of Green Bay, and Mark (Summer) of Traverse City. She also had 8 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in the spring. Memorial contributions in Beth's honor may be directed to the Grand Traverse Pavilions or the Friendly Garden Club.

Please visit to share your thoughts and memories with her family.

The family is being served by Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

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