Warrior against alcohol, gambling dies at 85

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PROVIDENCE, Ky. — Don Cole, who spearheaded efforts opposing alcohol sales and gambling expansion for the Kentucky League on Alcohol and Gambling Problems, died April 12. Cole, 85, served as executive director of the league since the early 1990s.


Called to ministry in 1954, he pastored nine different churches in Kentucky and Missouri following his 1957 ordination. He was a graduate of Murray State University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


His career also involved him being chief counselor and a social worker at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville and a member of the Church Relations Council at Campbellsville University.


“Don has made a mark that can never be erased,” said Tony Carson, pastor of First Baptist Sonora and board member of the Kentucky League. “Don not only loved the church, but his commitment to making the Commonwealth of Kentucky a better place by limiting the sale of alcohol is something we should all be proud of. He worked tirelessly for not only those who agreed with him, but those who didn’t, who will someday remember there was a man who carried the torch to make our area safer and more caring.”


Cole’s son, Gene, who pastors Corinth Baptist Church in Providence, where his father was a member. He said his father was “a man who loved Jesus, was real active with ministry and devoted his life to helping others to know Jesus.” Gene has served the last three years as assistant executive director of the league.


The Kentucky League is a political action organization that lobbies in Frankfort and assists communities in opposing alcohol sales in local option elections. It provides speakers for churches and organizations and distributes informational information on alcohol and gambling issues.


Jim Clontz, a league trustee and treasurer who serves as associational mission strategist for the South District Baptist Association in Danville, said he is “grateful Don’s influence will live on for years. Let’s not allow Don’s great work to be in vain — let’s continue it.”


Lester Watson, interim pastor at Unity Baptist in Fredonia and a league trustee, said Cole “has been a great friend and pastored in the Caldwell-Lyon Baptist Association. It was a joy working with him then and also as a part of the league for several years. He loved people and he loved the Lord. May God richly bless his family during this time.”


Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Anna Lorene; three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


Funeral services will be Saturday, April 17, at noon at Tomblinson Funeral Home Henderson Chapel with Rev. Jimmy Sigler officiating.

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