Cover photo for Mary Lee Cole's Obituary
1937 Mary 2018

Mary Lee Cole

May 1, 1937 — June 7, 2018

Mary Lee Cole, 81, of Portland, Oregon, passed away on June 7th, 2018.  Mary was born in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, to parents Solomon and Ollie Mae Brooks. She was the oldest of fourteen children and graduated from Lowery Hr. Senior High in 1957. She graduated in 1961 from Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Mary married Joshua Cole, the love of her life, who enlisted in the Army. They moved to Portland where they raised two daughters, Stephanie, and Iris.

Mary is survived by her husband, Joshua, and daughters Stephanie Wirfs and Iris Cole. Her siblings Leo, Donald, Ezzard, Mackie, Connie, Gail, and Martha. Her grandchildren, Pyerra, Brandon, Aysa, Taylor, and Kennedy. Her great-grandchildren, Markari, Sh’aire, Daveon, Laila, and Prince.

Mary was a go-getter and taught primary and elementary school for over thirty-five years before retiring. Some schools she taught at were St. Rita, Brooklyn Elementary School, John Ball, Harriet Tubman, and Vernon. She was known to be a strict but loving teacher who went above and beyond to ensure her students were successful and reached their potential. Whether it was staying for long hours for parent-teacher conferences, grading endless papers, tests, and quizzes, giving one-on-one tutoring to help struggling students, or connecting them with social services for family life challenges. You name it, she gave her time and energy. Years later, some of her most gratifying memories were encountering her former students, now adults with children of their own. They would recognize her and say, “You are Mrs. Cole. When I was in your class, I thought what a MEAN teacher Mrs. Cole is, but I thank you for pushing me to be the best I can be.” Many of her former students who became parents requested their children were placed in her class.

Mary had a heart of gold and loved her family, friends, neighbors, and students. She went to the ends of the earth for those in need. Mary is laid to rest at Rose City Cemetery and Funeral Home in Portland, Oregon.

We dedicate this prayer to honor her:

God saw you

God saw you getting tired,

When a cure was not to be.

So, He wrapped His arms around you

and whispered, “Come to me.”

You didn’t deserve what you went through,

So, He gave you a rest.

God’s garden must be beautiful,

For He only takes the best,

And when I saw you sleeping,

So peaceful and free from pain,

I could not wish you back,

To suffer that again.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Lee Cole, please visit our flower store.

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