Services for long time businessman, Kenneth Wayne Cole, Sr. will be 1p.m., Friday, Dec., 13, 2013 in the Chapel of the Garden, at Rice Funeral Service. He will be laid to rest at Park Grove Cemetery, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Friends may visit at the funeral home Thurs., Dec., 12 from 8-8 with family there to receive visitors from 5-7.
Ken passed away at the Clare House in Tulsa, Okla, with his devoted wife, Sally, by his side. He was 72.
Born in Tulsa on July 26, 1941, Ken was the son of Carl and Martella (Thomas) Cole. He grew up and received his education in the Union area of his birth community. Following his Union High School years, he began to work in the golf industry. He worked in the pro shop and as a caddy for the members at Meadowbrook Country Club in the days when the club was only nine holes. His love for golf runs deep through the entire Cole family. A pretty good golfer in his own right, Ken taught both of his children to play. Ken and daughter, Jan enjoyed golf outings until she became a teen, and other interests distracted her from the game. But, when son, Ken, Jr. came along the love of the game stuck and it was actually Dad who decided these golf outings weren’t as fun as they once were—yes, Ken, Jr. was now beating the teacher.
Ken and Sally Roberts met when both were still teenagers. But, this was to be a long and lasting relationship. The two married November 28th, 1958, on a Thanksgiving Day wedding ceremony. Ken’s step-father married the young Coles. And the two celebrated fifty-five years together this past Thanksgiving as once again their anniversary fell on the holiday. And this time the family included three generations of Kenneth Wayne Coles — father, son and grandson.
Not only were Ken and Sally committed to one another in their marriage and their job as parents; but, they were also quite the team in business. Ken was a young entrepreneur who began operating his own business in 1967— a small bicycle and lawn mower shop. After two short years, he had grown the business to a place that allowed him to sell for a nice profit. He took those proceeds and moved his family to Claremore, where he purchased an old auto dealership’s building and began his own Honda Motorcycle business. When he sold that company, he had an opportunity to merge his love of golf with a business that went hand in hand. In 1986 the Classic Golf Cart Company was born—a company that now flourishes through the capable hands of Ken’s two children — Jan operating the Claremore location and Ken, Jr. taking care of the newer Grove location.
Ken, Sr. just seemed to know how to make his business ventures a huge success. This wasn’t something that just happened, instead, it took a great deal of hard work and effort in customer satisfaction. For instance, though Ken loved spending time on Grand Lake and he also loved his OU Sooners, he never flew that OU flag of his on his boat—those OSU customers might have been offended. Now that’s wise business!
Obviously Ken was a great mentor for his children, but he was also quite a role model for many other young men. Since he became acquainted with many through his work, he took every opportunity to give wise guidance, plain old horse sense and sometimes even stern leadership. Because he cared so much, these young men responded positively. Respect seemed to always get the desired result.
As beloved grandson, “K.C.”, Ken, III blessed this family, Papa began all over again with his style of loving and leading. And because the lessons were so well taught, this legacy will surely effect the next generation of Coles.
Though dedicated to his family, friends and work efforts, Ken also knew how to take time to just enjoy life. He loved golf, gambling, horseracing, lake sports and Sooner football. He also liked nothing better than using his incredible sense-of-humor on those he loved most.
Though the legacy lives on, Ken Cole, Sr. will be dearly missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Sally of their home in Claremore; daughter, Jan Cole also of Claremore and son and daughter-in-law, Ken, Jr. and Heather of Monkey Island, Grand Lake, Oklahoma and K.C., Ken, III also of Monkey Island; brother, Larry Cole and wife Barbara of Kiowa, Oklahoma; two half brothers, Philip and Bud Gaylor both of California; step-father, Everett Gaylor of California; step-brother, Thomas Cole and wife Mary of California and step-sister, Sue Putman also of California and numerous other extended family members. He was preceded in death by his mother and his father.