2018-02-23 / Obituaries

Robert J. Cole

Robert Joseph “Bob” Cole of Brunswick, Maine, died on Sunday, February 18, 2018, surrounded by his children after a three-week illness. Bob was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on June 21, 1936, to Edward F. and Gertrude (Ensco) Cole.

He attended Spring Glen Elementary School, graduated from Hamden High School and received his BS and MBA degrees from New Haven College (now University of New Haven). He was later awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of New Haven.

He is predeceased by his wife, Eileen Pappas Cole, in 2013, as well as his parents, Edward and Gertrude Cole, and his brothers Edward Cole Jr., Peter Cole and sister Marge Finch, all of Connecticut.

He started his career as a Boy Scout executive with the Charter Oak Council, he produced a “Scouting Expo” that sparked his moving into starting his own business. In 1967, he produced the first Camper and RV Show at the Hartford Armory in Hartford, Connecticut. That led to many more consumer shows expanding into Maine, New Hampshire, North and South Carolina as well as Georgia. For more than 30 years the Maine Boat Show as well as the Augusta Camper & RV Show and the Augusta Boat Show were events that signaled the first signs of spring.

These events helped businesses expand their season and their market. Bob also began producing concerts first with Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops and later adding Bob Hope, Pat and Debby Boone, Captain and Tennille as well as Judy Collins and producing the “Glenn Miller Cabaret — Tribute Events.”

In 1984, he signed on the first of four FM radio stations that he would own including one in Aiken, South Carolina, that he later sold to entertainer James Brown. In addition to owning radio stations, he conducted bus tours to the World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada, owned a travel agency, an advertising agency, a printing company as well as land developments.

He was a true entrepreneur and at different times, all of his children were involved with his businesses. In addition to his work, he was involved in civic organizations including Rotary Clubs in Connecticut and Maine and was a past president of the Farmington Connecticut Rotary Club, he was active in the Navy League and was an active member of St. Charles Church in Brunswick.

Bob and his wife Eileen enjoyed many travels to England, Greece, Monaco and other countries where they made lifelong friends, in addition, they opened up their summer cottage in East Boothbay to parties each year. Bob loved to entertain and surrounded himself with many friends young and old.

For the last three years, Bob resided at the Mid Coast Senior Health Center in Brunswick, where he made many friends amongst the staff and the residents.

He is survived by his sister, Rosemary Sette of Connecticut, his three children: Eileen J. Cole of Savannah, GA, Thomas R. Cole and wife Regina of Topsham, Christine M. Cole and wife Cathy Fornisano of Windham. Seven grandchildren Mose’ and wife Michelle Russo, Edward and wife Amber Russo, Mario Russo, Alisha and Emily Bernier, Hannah and Thomas Cole Jr., two great-grandchildren Sophia Bernier and Avery Russo.

Visiting hours will be held March 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal St., Brunswick, ME 04011. The funeral Mass will officiated by Father Murphy on Friday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 132 McKeen St., Brunswick, Maine 04011, with a reception to follow at Stones Café & Bakery, 424 Walnut Hill Road, North Yarmouth, Maine 04097.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Boy Scout Troop 202 where a fund has been established in Bob Cole’s name to help Scouts who need financial assistance, go to Boy Scout Camp. Please send donations to: Boy Scout Troop 202, c/o Treasurer Georgia Temple, 1252 Meadow Road, Bowdoin, ME 04287. Thank you.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Midcoast Senior Health Center and CHANS Hospice for the wonderful care he received.

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