Joannie Ruth Cole

Joannie Cole
October 20, 1933 – November 6, 2019

Joannie Cole of Austin passed away peacefully at the age of 86 years, with loving family at her side, at Seton Hospital in Kyle on Nov. 6, 2019, following a bout of pneumonia. The day before, she enjoyed visiting with close friends and family. She will be remembered for her good-heartedness, animated personality, keen sense of humor, indomitable spirit, and love for her family.

Joannie was born on October 20, 1933, as an only child to J. M. and Inez Brown of Normangee, Texas. She later graduated from Bryan High School. After marrying Charles Cole, she lived the life of an Air Force wife, following a strict set of rules, which detailed what you could and could not do as an officer’s wife according to your husband’s rank. She took pride in setting formal tables for the officers’ wives’ functions, which she was honored with a silver plate. She loved entertaining and planning a feast.

During the time her four children were born (spanning 11 years), her family lived at various Air Force bases, including California; Upper Heyford A.F.B, England; Bryan, Texas; Blytheville, A.F.B., Arkansas; Dover in Delaware; and McGuire A.F.B in New Jersey. She worked as a dental assistant in New Jersey.

In 1970, she settled down in Austin, where she began her 34-year career working with the same law firm. The first attorneys she worked with were Mack Kidd, Lloyd Doggett, and Bill Whitehurst. The firm acquired various partners through the years, also became known as Kidd, Whitehurst, Harkness & Watson; and Whitehurst, Harkness, Ozmun & Brees, etc. Joannie was a people-person. Referring attorneys and clients loved her positive attitude and cheerfulness. Many of the firm’s clients had suffered the loss of loved ones or were disabled – Joannie loved them all.

Ten years ago, Joannie retired and enjoyed accompanying her son, Jay, to their ranch in Edge, Texas, to check on the cows and visit relatives. She enjoyed crocheting baby blankets and selling them out of the trunk of her car, cooking dinner for her two sons who lived with her, and baking delicious deserts. Reading western stories delighted her, including Lonesome Dove and Buffalo Girls.

Joannie certainly loved her family, and holiday gatherings were important to her. She is survived by her four children: Dona Marshall of Dallas (husband James); Charles Windell Cole, Jr. of Austin; Jay Cole of Austin (preceded by wife Robin), and Gail Gunter (husband Dawight) of Kyle, and their children, David Gunter (wife Elizabeth) and Nicole. Her two grandchildren were “diamonds in the sky” and she loved watching them grow up. Many will miss her dearly. She made a difference in people’s lives.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, at Callaway & Jones Funeral Home, 3001 S. College Avenue, Bryan, Texas, with Pastor Carl Anderson officiating. The viewing is at 11:30 a.m., service at 12:30 p.m., and graveside service at 2:30 p.m. at New Church Cemetery in the nearby Edge Community.

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  1. The last time I saw Joannie was at her grandson David’s (Elizabeth) wedding. She looked so beautiful and happy.

    I know her children and grandchildren are experiencing a great loss. I’m so very sorry.

    You are all in our prayers.

  2. As a young lawyer, Joanie taught me about life in the law office environment. She helped me to navigate the rigors of the practice of law, the difficult clients, the ups and downs of life in the big city. I remember my first trial when the jury went out to deliberate. I was so nervous. Joanie came over to the courthouse to sit with me while I waited for a verdict. I have no memory of the particular trial or the outcome but I remember, clearly that Joanie was there for me. Most of all, I remember that Joanie played a role in introducing me to my husband, Jack. For this and so many other things, I will always be grateful.

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