of Chelsea, age 84, went to be with his Savior on Sept. 20, 2021, while at his home with his family by his side. He was born September 3, 1937, in Carleton, Michigan, the son of Edward Clark & Gladys J. (Bale) Cole. Don graduated from Carleton Airport High School in 1956. He served in the US Army from 1956 - 1958, and later attended Cleary College and Wayne State University. Before becoming a funeral director in 1974, Donald was employed at Tecumseh Products for 13 years. He and his wife Linda purchased Cole Funeral Chapel in 1977, and was dedicated to helping grieving families in Chelsea until his retirement in 1999. He continued to assist and advise at the funeral home until the end of his life.
Don has lived in Chelsea since 1977, moving from Tecumseh where he and Linda had resided since 1960. Over the years, Don & Linda attended Chelsea First United Methodist Church, Chelsea Free Methodist Church, and St. Paul United Church of Christ. Don was a distinguished Past President of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club, where he was awarded the Hixon Award; was Past President of District 2 of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association; and a board member of Faith in Action. Don has been a member of the Chelsea Seniors Computer Club, the Chelsea Hospital Auxiliary; and was a past board member of Chelsea Senior Citizens. He enjoyed restoring and showing old cars, including his two antique hearses and his 1967 Corvette, and was a former member of the Chelsea Classic Cruisers Car Club. Don’s greatest love was his wife Linda, his family, dear friends, and the many families he served.
Don married Linda L. Baker in Carleton, Michigan, on April 4, 1959, and she survives. He is also survived by one daughter, Beth (James) Strader of Chelsea; two sons, Allen (Wendy) of Chelsea and Dale of Tustin, California; three granddaughters, Nicole (Warren) Bowen, Laura (Zack) Swenson and Jamie (Tyler) Baxter; three grandsons, Brian (Sarah), Joshua and Nathan; three great-grandchildren, Cayden, Skylur, and Kaylee Bowen; two sisters, Barbara Frankhouse of Monroe, and Mary Kisner of Indiana; a sister-in-law, Marsha Cole of Chelsea; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his two brothers, Harold and Paul; two brothers-in-law, Jack Frankhouse and Gerald Kisner; and a sister-in-law, Ruth Cole.
The family will receive friends at Cole Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, Sept. 22, from 6-9 pm, and Thursday, Sept. 23, from 1-4 & 6-9 pm. Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 24, in Chelsea with Rev. Larry Lyons and Rev. Paul Kisner (his nephew) officiating. Please call (734) 475-1551 to reserve a place at the funeral. Masks will be required. On Friday, Don will take another ride to Oak Grove East Cemetery. However, on this trip Don will not be the funeral director and he will not return to the Cole Funeral Chapel as he had done so many times before. Don will not be the driver of his lovely 1916 hand carved hearse which he restored. He will be the proud passenger on this, his final trip. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kiwanis Club of Chelsea, P.O. Box 61, Chelsea, MI 48118, or the Chelsea Senior Center, 512 Washington St. Chelsea, MI 48118.
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