MIDLAND, Texas — Bill G. Cole was born May 26, 1926, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Willie Cephus and Hattie Thompson Cole. He passed away on November 10, 2012. Bill's life encompassed some of the major times of our country. He was a child of the Great Depression and those times shaped his thinking and made his wish for a better life.
He was a proud member of the United States Navy during World War II. He obtained his wishes because of the G.I. Bill, and he was certainly proud to be among what is now called the Greatest Generation. Bill was among those young men of his time who served in the military either at the age of 18 or upon high school graduation.
He qualified on both. He graduated from Ardmore High School on May 26, 1944, his 18th birthday. The next morning he was in Norman, Oklahoma, on his way to Navy boot camp in San Diego, California. He was at ports-of-call in Biloxi, and Gulfport, Mississippi, and Boston, Massachusetts. He served in the North Atlantic out of Argentia, Newfoundland.
When he returned to Ardmore, his hometown, after the War, in 1947, he met the love of his life, Anita Berry, the week of his 21st birthday.
They were married in 1952 and had 60 years of married life together.
They had four children, Leslie, Jeffrey, Janet and Stephen. He attended North Texas State College and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology in 1954, when he went to work for Mid-Continent Oil Company in Oklahoma City where he and Anita lived until the Fall of 1963, when he was sent to Midland as District Geologist.
His company at that time was Sunray DX Oil Company who had merged with Mid-Continent. In 1970, he became an Independent Geologist and Consultant, which he remained for the rest of his life.
From the early 1980s, he was working with his oldest son, Jeff, also a Geologist, and was also associated with his other son, Steve, a Landman. After his family, his two great loves were his chosen profession, Geology, which he never tired of and was going to his office until last week, and sports. He started playing baseball as a young boy with a small tree limb for a bat, and a found worn-out ball, as he put it. He was signed by the Cleveland Indians after the war, played for them briefly, and decided to do as he always dreamed, go to college, get a degree and work in the oil and gas industry. He never regretted that decision. He played on Championship teams in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Oklahoma. In the 1960s, he formed a team for his company to play in that new type of softball called Slow-Pitch Softball, in Oklahoma City. The last summer he played there, he had a batting average in the 800s and had 90 home runs that year. After moving to Midland in the fall of 1963, he played fast-pitch again the summer of 1964, but began to get friends and companies interested in Slow-Pitch and in the Spring of 1965, he formed the Midland Slow-Pitch Softball Association and was elected president for the first six seasons, from 1965 through 1970. During that time, after countless meetings with City officials and the Parks and Recreation department, he got the fences made regulation depth on the two fields at Hogan Park at that time, another field built, lights installed on all, the first restrooms and concession stand built for the fields, and got the first two high-rise bleachers built with materials donated by friends in the oil industry and labor from himself and ball players. Also, the first electric scoreboard was installed at that time at Hogan Park. He managed and played on teams for several years, and one of those teams won the State Championship in 1968. He continued playing every summer through 1988; those later years were with teams of his sons' ages or a bit older. His sons played on some of those teams with him and his last year of play he was 62 years old. The next year, 1989, he was inducted into the Midland Slow-Pitch Association Hall of Fame at Hogan Park. Bill was a natural athlete. He could not play for years and then beat his opponents at most any sport. In his 60s, he decided to learn fencing, and at graduation competition he beat everyone, most all in their 20s and 30s. Bill was a member of the West Texas Geological Society and American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He was a leader for his sons in Indian Guides, coached them in Flag football, Y basketball, Little League, and when it was time for Steve to coach his son, Cameron, his assistants were his father, Bill and brother, Jeff.
Bill was predeceased by his parents; one brother; five sisters; and his granddaughter, Lacy Ferguson.
He is survived by his wife, Anita; his daughter, Leslie and her husband, Lee Ligon; his son, Jeff; his daughter, Janet; his son, Steve and his wife, Laree; his grandson, Cameron Cole; his granddaughter, Alexa Cole; his step-granddaughter, Leesha Ligon and her husband, Shawn Seidel; his step-grandson, Kenneth Ligon; his grandson-in-law, Chris Ferguson; great-granddaughter, Kassidy Chenault and great-grandson, Braden Ferguson, Lacy's children; his step-great-granddaughters, Makenzie Seidel, Laney Ligon and Kami Box; step-great-grandson, Branham Ligon; his sister, Patricia Brouillard; and many nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers are Jeff Cole, Steve Cole, Lee Ligon, Cameron Cole, Shawn Seidel, Chris Ferguson and Perry Robertson.
On a recent outing, Bill mentioned to Anita how much he had enjoyed the day. And she said to him some lyrics from a song, "Yes, we're still having fun, and you're Still the One." And that's exactly how they had thought of each other since that meeting one summer evening in 1947.
Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. today at Resthaven Memorial Park, Midland, Texas.