Garold “Bud” Lee Cole
Feb. 14, 1935 – March 22, 2022
NORMAL – Garold Lee Cole, age 87, always known to his family and friends since childhood as “Bud,” passed peacefully on March 22, 2022, in Normal, IL, where he had resided since joining the faculty at Illinois State University in 1968 .
He was born in Oklahoma City, OK, on February 14, 1935, to Frank and Bessie Cole, but was raised in Cherryvale, KS. His father died in an accident when Bud was eight years old and he became the self-appointed patriarch of the family, often working two or more jobs to bring in money.
He was an outstanding baseball and basketball player at Cherryville High School, whose mascot was the “Fighting Cherries,” and he earned the nickname “Razor” because of his sharp elbows on the court.
After high school, Bud worked at the Boeing aircraft plant in Wichita, KS, on the new B-52 bombers, before enlisting in the United States Air Force. He spent most of his five-year Air Force enlistment in England where he met and married Sheila Margaret Carter of London. He returned to Cherryvale in 1959, pregnant British wife in tow.
During the late 1950s and 1960s, while raising a family, he attended Pittsburg State University in Kansas; the University of Oklahoma; and the University of Iowa. I have earned two Master’s Degrees in History and Library Science. In 1968, he accepted a position at Illinois State University in Normal, IL, and worked at ISU’s Milner Library as a Professor of Library Science. His subject areas were History, Political Science, and Criminal Justice.
In 1976, his world reorganized, and he married Betsy Rajski. Bud and Betsy remained devoted and together for 44-years until his passing from him.
Bud firmly believed that his profession was much more than helping patrons. I have believed librarians should publish scholarly articles and books. During his tenure, in addition to numerous articles, he published a book about travelers’ experiences in Latin America in the 1800s, and two books about first-hand accounts of the Civil War titled “Civil War Eyewitnesses I and II,” both books well -regarded by Civil War researchers and scholars. Garold was a quiet, detailed and well-respected Civil War scholar and bibliographer.
After retirement in 1996, he and Betsy enjoyed their slower years together writing, gardening and traveling. His husband was a passionate gardener and they maintained a lush backyard garden of flowers, vegetables, and occasional fruit trees. He was an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, and always maintained a friendly debate with his next door neighbors (who were Chicago Cubs fans), over just who was the better team. He was always connected to his roots, following southeastern Kansas and University of Iowa college sports his whole life. He also enjoyed the companionship of the pet dogs in his life (Tiny, Fritzie, Petey, Lucky, and Mia).
Though in later years various health issues restricted his mobility, his mind remained ever sharp, and he maintained an encyclopedic knowledge of whatever caught his interest, often engaging in lengthy and detailed discussions with family. His kids from him, learned in their own rights, conceded their father’s academic superiority and dubbed him “The Ultimate Source of all Knowledge.” He was a man of wisdom and humor and known to play an occasional practical joke.
Garold is survived by a loving family: his wife, Betsy; his sister, Donna Robinson (Tucson); children: Gary (Normal), Laura (Lexington, KY) and Neil (South Korea); cousin, Cheryl; as well as other cousins and the many friends whose lives he touched over his decades at ISU.
He was a remarkable man and will be missed by all who knew him.
Cremation rites were agreed. There will be no service. Bud’s ashes will be divided between Betsy, who will scatter some in the garden he loved; Gary, who will transport some to Bud’s hometown of Cherryvale to scatter them in various places; and the remaining ashes will be given a green burial in Evergreen Cemetery later this spring, at which time family and friends will agree to honor and remember him in a manner he would appreciate. Notice will be posted in the Pantagraph as the time approaches.
If you like, please make a donation to a favorite charity of your liking in his memory. Bud would like that.
Published by The Pantagraph on Mar. 26, 2022.