By Kathleen Sullivan
William Fred Cole and his fraternal twin brother, Robert, were born on June 18, 1940, at home in Divine Corners to William and Alice (Geer) Cole.
The Cole family, which also included older brother Arthur, eventually moved to Main Street in Hurleyville.
Bill’s aunt, Carrie, was married to Seth Eltz. Many houses on Main Street from the four corners at Morningside to the little bridge were owned by the Cole and Eltz families. In fact, the little bridge is still owned by Arthur Cole.
Bill married Ada Hayes in 1964. Bill and Ada broke from the “Main Street tradition” in 1973. They moved to a larger home on Mitteer Road to accommodate their growing family: son, William, and daughters, Colleen and Dana.
An active community volunteer, Bill was a member of the Hurleyville Fire Department for 45 years, earning the distinction of “Life Member.” He received “Fireman of the Year” awards in 1978 and 1979. Bill was president of the Hurleyville Fire Company in 1977 and 1978. A commissioner of the Hurleyville Fire District from 1973 through 1974, Bill also was a driver for the Hurleyville Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In 1982 Bill was honored by the Fallsburg Little League for his 10 years of service as a coach in the program. Bill also served in the United States Army Reserve.
Bill displayed strength in his struggle with discrimination due to his height. He was denied the opportunity to secure a position in civil service due to his height. Bill was described by his family as “larger than life” by working hard to provide for his family. He worked for Schrade Cutlery in Ellenville and 3D Block in Bridgeville. He also mowed the Hurleyville Cemetery.
Bill was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1974. He was confounded by the debilitating effects of the illness which would affect his ability to provide for his family. There was very little information available on what the long-term effects of MS were. Bill was determined to continue to walk. He never complained about the difficulties he experienced.
In an effort to get around more easily, Bill moved from his beloved Hurleyville to Smithfield, North Carolina. He lived near cousins and was able to use a walker. A fan of well-made vehicles, Bill also used a mobile chair which he described as a “fast car with hand controls.” Weather conditions did not prevent him from getting “out and about.”
In September 2015 Bill moved to his son’s home in Gansevoort, New York, where he was cared for by his family and hospice. Bill’s whole family, including his four beloved grandchildren, was able to be with Bill for Christmas in 2015. Surrounded by his loving family, Bill passed away on Jan. 10, 2016.
Described by his family as “always being there for them,” Bill displayed great strength and determination. He’s fondly remembered for his sense of humor and his ability to “keep his cool.”
Bill is one of Hurleyville’s many wonderful treasures.
Please visit www.hurleyvilleny.com to find more treasures in Hurleyville.