Harold “Hal” Cole, 94, passed away on Dec. 21, 2017 at Libby Care Center with his loving wife, Anita, of 49 years at his side. He was born in Thermopolis, Wyoming on Nov. 2, 1923, the second son of Benjamin H. “Happy” and Ida A. Cole. He attended school in Thermopolis until he enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and served with distinction in the European Theater of operations as an airborne radio operator and gunner in the B-24 Liberator.
Hal participated in the numerous raids on the Piolsti Oil Fields in Romania and other historic battles and raids on the rail yards and rail equipment in Germany. After the war, Hal served in Pakistan, Occupied Germany and Hawaii and flew with the Military Air Transport Service during the Korean War transporting wounded from Seoul to the United States.
Hal took his discharge from the U. S. Air Force at Hamilton Air Force Base in California where he was NCOIC of Base Housing and where he met and married his wife Anita on April 12, 1968. After his discharge he returned to school at Sonoma State College in Rohnert Park, California, where he graduated with a degree in geography.
Hal’s hobbies included fishing, hunting and playing cribbage every chance he had. After graduating from college, he and Anita bought property in Santa Rosa and Windsor, California. They renovated them and then sold them and moved to Ulm, where they both had jobs in Great Falls. After he and Anita retired, they sold and moved to Libby. They were active in the VFW and American Legion.
Survivors include his wife Anita of Libby; a brother Franklin (Donna) Cole, of Thermopolis; son Lamont Cole of Cave Creek, Arizona; daughter Linda Poole of Middleton, Idaho; grandson Joey (Jeniffer) Delgado and great-granddaughter Charlotte Rose Delgado of Caldwell, Idaho; granddaughters Lenora Poole of California and Yvonne Poole of Oklahoma; nephews David (Carol) Smith of Thermopolis, Leonard (Marilyn) Smith of Colorado, C.L. Smith of California, L.F. Smith of Riverton, and Michael Kah of Germany; nieces Nan (Jay) Steadman of Thermopolis, Gwen (Reg) Treese of Coulter Bay, Marlene (Richard) Carlson of California, Janene (Rick) Fletcher of Nevada, and Sylvia Grunert of Germany.
Services will be held at 1 p.m., March 15, 2018 at the City of Libby Cemetery with military honors. Arrangements are by Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Libby. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.