Don “Red” C. Cole, 69, passed away peacefully at his ranch in Suplee, Oregon on Saturday, December 12, 2020. He was born on April 5, 1951 in Missoula, Montana to Don Clifford and Ruth Lorraine (Spear) Cole.
Red’s grade school years were spent at the Paulina Elementary School. He then attended Crook County High School in Prineville, Oregon. Red earned his GED while serving in the US Army. He served his country from 1969 – 1972 in the Vietnam War. The honors he received in the service were; National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, 2 OS bars, Vietnam Service Medal, M14 Sharp Shooter, Bronze Star Medal, and Army Commendations Medal. He also received a Purple Heart. He was Sargent and Paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division.
Red worked on serval ranches in the Paulina area. He was the Paulina mechanic for many years. He eventually started running heavy equipment which led to starting his own construction company; Don Cole Blading. He also worked for the Crook County Road Department. Red maintained all of the roads in the Paulina area. There were many times he’d get up before the crack of dawn to make sure the roads would be plowed and cleared for the school bus drivers. After eight years of working for the County, Red and Ava started their own road business; Cole’s Blading LLC, which they had for 13 years. Red finally decided to retire and hang up the keys. He then sold most of his equipment. However, Red was never one to just sit around, so he’d bid on jobs for the Forest Service and rent back his own equipment just to complete the jobs.
Red’s passion was hunting, fishing and camping. He’ll be remembered by many as a legendary sharp shooter. He also loved snowmobiling, back in the good ol’ days with his friends and family. Red looked forward to the weekly pinochle parties with his Paulina buddies. He also enjoyed being a part of the Paulina Trap Club and the Paulina Rodeo Club for many years. He was a great supporter of the Paulina Community and the Paulina School. Red wasn’t one to hesitate in lending a helping hand to anyone in need. He especially loved to help his Paulina Community friends with their cattle brandings.
Red was preceded in death by his son, Kevin Don Cole; his father, Don Clifford Cole; his mother, Ruth Lorraine (Spear) Cole; his nephew, Tony Lee Cole and numerous Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Also his good friends, Carl Lee Schnabele and Bob Brittner.
Red is survived by his wife, Ava, his daughter Kimberly and her husband Russ Johnson; his son, Aaron and his wife, Robyn Cole, he has four grandchildren; Brantly Scott, Jaden Johnson, Josie and Jaclyn Cole. His brother, Terry Lee and his wife Mary Beth Cole; two uncles, Max and his wife Loretta Cole, Pat and his wife Ann Cole; Aunt, Winnie Miles. His close friends, Tom Woodside, Dave Condron, Bobby VanWinkle, Kenny Lommen and the rest of the Tillamook crew.
It was Red’s wish to be cremated and for his family to spread his ashes on his ranch in Suplee. He never wanted a big deal to be made with a funeral, however we will inform friends and family of a possible remembrance in the future.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Paulina Rodeo Scholarship Fund would’ve been what Red wanted. Big Red will be missed by many.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Don "Red" C. Cole, please visit our floral store.
Paulina Rodeo Club (Scholarship Fund)
P.O. Box 37, Paulina OR 97751