The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 


An extraordinary ordinary man


December 13, 2018

Bill Cole

Wasco lost a treasure recently with the passing of Bill Cole.

Bill lived in Wasco for almost all of his 83 years, becoming a fixture in town, be it as owner of a business or just being an ordinary man who was considered extraordinary by those who knew him. He was known as "just plain old Bill" around the city, and he was loved by everyone who had the pleasure to know him.

Bill moved to Wasco when he was 10 years old, living until then in Oklahoma. He graduated from Wasco High School in 1953. After graduation, Bill worked a variety of jobs. It was at this time that he met the love of his life, Betty. "I worked at the local E&P Market, and Bill and his coworkers would stop by to turn in their empty bottles and buy sodas," she recalled. "They started sending Bill into the store because they knew that he was kind of sweet on me. We were married a year later at Griffith Avenue Baptist Church, in 1957."

Bill was then drafted, and he got stationed overseas in Germany, where he was a marksman for the U.S. Army. Betty joined him, and they had the opportunity to visit several great cities in Europe including Rome, Venice, London and Vienna. They had their first child, Tony, while overseas.

After returning home, Bill managed the Mobil service station in Wasco. He then decided to strike out on his own, and he purchased Wasco Auto Service and Towing. Cole retired after 30 years but didn't slow down any. Bill kept busy building things, which he enjoyed doing. Among his creations were metal horse buggies and hand trailers. He would give the pieces to children, most of the creations made from spare parts that he would find in his yard.

Bill also loved to garden and would frequently be found around town giving his bounty of vegetables to friends and people around town. He loved making people smile.

One of his favorite things to do was to go grocery shopping. There, he would meet his friends, people he knew from his shop, or make new friends. "One of the things that he liked to do was see a woman pushing a child in a basket at the grocery store," his wife said. "He would walk up to the woman and, looking at the child, ask her, 'Excuse me, could you tell me what aisle you found that in?' He loved to see the laughs he would get out of the mothers."

In his spare time, Bill also loved to work crossword puzzles, and he had a routine of reading the comics in the paper. If he found a particularly funny one, he would cut it out and put it on the refrigerator, making sure that Betty would read it.

Bill also loved to fish, hunt and go backpacking.

"Bill was loved by so many in town, and he loved them right back. He made friends wherever he went, and he will be dearly missed by so many," Betty said.


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