John R. Cole

August 29, 1944 - May 7, 2023

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John Rolla Cole

August 29, 1944 – May 7, 2023



John Rolla Cole, born august 29th, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri passed on May 7th 2023 in his home in Portland, Oregon. 

As a young man, John left the family farm

where he was raised and hitchhiked across the country and enlisted in the US Navy. He served for four years, primarily on USS Bennington where he sailed to Japan and the Philippines among other countries. 

After his honorable discharge from military service, John earned a bachelors degree in History at California State University Northridge. Following college, he had a long career as a computer programmer and scientist. A portion of his career was spent working for Wacker Siltronic in Germany. Living in Germany was a highlight for John and allowed him to travel Europe with his young family. 

Later in his career he earned a Masters of Business Administration at Portland State University. That experience helped him realize a passion for teaching. John went on teach computer programming and science for many years at Portland State University and Portland Community College. 

In retirement John was an avid reader with an insatiable appetite for learning. He regularly read multiple books at a time, and particularly loved world history, politics, and foreign affairs. John also collected and admired fountain pens from around the world. 

John enjoyed bluegrass music and he especially loved hearing his son, Joshua, play the mandolin and guitar. 

A highlight for John and his longtime partner Karen were weekend drives with their dogs Kooper, Bailee, Bella and Abbee, and their twice a year trips to the coast. 

John was preceded in death by his son Bryan. He is survived by his partner Karen; son Joshua; stepson Matthew (Cassie); stepdaughter Katelyn (Dalton); grandchildren Chloe, Violet, Ace, Luci, Eisley and Rylie; siblings Jeff, Tony and Mike; and former wife Dana. 

A memorial service for John will be held on May 25, 2023 at 10:45 AM, with honors at Willamette National Cemetery