Michael Wesley H. Cole, 64, died unexpectedly in Polson at St. Joseph’s Hospital Oct. 23, 2017.
Michael had raised two fine sons and loved his family life full of soccer, camping, band concerts, Scouts and more. He helped raise a multitude of children through his involvement in education. His students were from all stages and abilities. The major goal of Michael was to help his students feel accomplished and proud of their effort. He loved his job and was a master at it. Michael had a gift to make family, friends, students, and co-workers feel loved and important in his special way. His gentleness, laughter, and love of fun will be missed.
Michael would throw himself into his interests with passion. For years he bred and showed curly haired Cornish Rex, then sleek oriental shorthair cats mainly in Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Big Arm Hannigan (as Michael was known by Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) members) was heavily involved with Cowboy Action Shooting for a number of years. He made many precious friends through being a past member of Orygun Cowboys and regularly shooting at matches throughout the Northwest. Continuing his love for the shooting sports, he also participated in United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), 3-gun matches, and was a range officer for the Polson Shooting Range. He enjoyed countless hours making furniture and other pieces of art in his woodworking shops. The Moose Lodge No. 1774 in Vancouver, Washington, is where he had his membership. He enriched his love of music by taking guitar, mandolin and piano lessons. Most recently, he was enthusiastically learning and participating in the world of ham radio where he earned his technician, general, and extra amateur licenses.
Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, Michael then moved to Chehalis, Washington at age 7. He grew up with his sister, LaDonna, and his brother, Jim, until going to Washington State University. He met his wife, Paula, at WSU. They lived in Pullman, Washington; Kellogg, Idaho; Vancouver and Camas, Washington. The final move was to Big Arm in 2007.
Michael loved learning. He was a high school graduate of W.F. West in Chehalis, Washington. He earned his bachelor’s at Washington State and his master’s at Portland State University. As a lifelong learner, he continued studies at many different colleges.
Love of learning was also shown in his choice of occupation: educator. He taught for more than 39 years at Kellogg School District, Kellogg; Evergreen School District, Vancouver; adjunct professor, Seattle Pacific University, Vancouver; Polson School District, Polson; and site supervisor for student teachers, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents, James and Mildred Cole, his uncle, Jerry Varvel, and cousin, Jeff Cole.
His survivors include his wife Paula, sons Ian and Pierce, sister LaDonna Hansen and her husband Ron, brother Jim Cole and his wife Arloa, uncle, Noel Cole, aunt, Fern Schneider, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A celebration of life has taken place in Big Arm. There was also a celebration of life for Michael held Nov. 4 at Vancouver Moose Lodge, Vancouver, Washington.
Messages of condolence may be expressed to the family online at www.thelakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. The Lake Funeral Home, Polson, is assisting with Michael’s arrangements.