CHOTEAU — The community of Choteau honored the life of World War II veteran Cecil Covil Cole, who passed away Monday, June 12, 2023, at Benefis Teton Medical Center.
Cole was born June 24, 1925, in Frazee, Minnesota, and was the youngest of seven children. Growing up in the Great Depression Cecil learned the value of hard work at a young age. Helping with daily farm chores and eventually earned his first summer job doing farm work at a nearby farm.
As Cole grew up he became a talented athlete, lettering in a number of sports, basketball, baseball, football, and track.
It was time for Cecil to grow up amidst the rise of conflict growing in Europe and Japan during World War II.
In September 1943, Cole enlisted in the United States Navy and was stationed in Idaho where he met his wife Maxine on a blind date. The two enjoyed 62 years of marriage with one another.
Cole went on to be stationed at San Diego Naval Hospital Corps School and was receiving training to be a Pharmacist Mate. He later worked in surgery before being deployed to Okinawa, Japan, and focused his efforts on Operation Downfall.
The bomb was dropped, Japan surrendered, and his mission focused on China and the Chinese Civil War outbreak. He was discharged from the Navy in 1946.
Cecil returned home and finished high school. He then moved to Choteau, Montana, worked numerous jobs, and ended his life still working his family farm.
Cole was involved in a number of organizations in Teton County including the American Legion, Choteau School Board, and the Choteau Lions Club, to name a few.
On July 7, 2023, Mayor Chris Hindoien declared the date, "Cecil Cole Day" and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Cole's contribution to the community.
Cecil is survived by his sons Rodney and Jay, and his daughter Barbara including a large number of grandchildren.
He passed away at 97 years old.