He was born September 2, 1928 in Bazine, KS to Don and Dorcas Cole. Bill attended Joint 1 Rural School in Ness County and graduated from Bazine High School in 1946. He began teaching in the Fall of 1946 in a one-room schoolhouse, Francis Rural School. He married Dorothy Mae Foos on July 30, 1950, in LaCrosse. He joined the Air Force in 1952 during the Korean Conflict and was stationed at Parks Air Force base in Livermore, California. Dorothy joined him there and their first two children, Colette and Susan, were born at the base hospital.
After his service, he returned to Bazine to continue his teaching career and acquired his degree in elementary education from Fort Hays State College. Three more children were added to the family, Patricia, James, and Mary. Bill taught and coached in the Bazine School System for over 38 years. Bill loved teaching and spending time with his students and was dedicated to his profession. He was proud to have taught all five of his children in grade school. In the summers, you could find Bill at the ballpark, coaching baseball and softball. He also kept busy helping family and friends with farm work and harvest and taking care of his own livestock. Bill was a loving father, husband, and son. He was blessed over the years to find wonderful companions to share his life.
He lost his wife, Dorothy, on March 13, 1989. He then retired from teaching in May of 1990 but continued to be involved with the school for many years and was a fixture at all the sporting events. Bill took great pride in his grandchildren, attending their ballgames and school activities as much as possible.
Bill found a loving companion in Alvina McCormick Foster and they married on July 30, 1991. They resided in McCracken and enjoyed ten years of marriage, spending time together and traveling to visit extended family and old friends. Bill was active at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, becoming a Eucharistic Minister. Alvina passed away on December 8, 2001.
While visiting friends in Arizona, Bill reconnected with a high school classmate, Celesta Schaben Bondurant, and they were united in marriage on October 3, 2003 in Youngtown, Arizona. Bill and Celesta enjoyed their time together relaxing in sunny Arizona. He always looked forward to his children visiting him in the spring and attending many spring training baseball games with them. Celesta passed away on August 23, 2016.
Bill returned to Kansas, residing in Ness City until moving to Lee’s Summit, MO in October 2017 to be closer to his family. When his health started to decline, he moved to Sunrise of Lenexa, KS in February 2019, and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.
Bill was proud to live in Ness County and was always an active community leader and happy to help organize community events. He was a member of many organizations and helped organize the Bazine High School reunions during Old Settlers. Bill took part in the many community events and was honored to be the Grand Marshall of the Bazine Picnic parade in 2014. He was a long-time member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Ness City. Bill was a charter member of the Bazine Lions Club and then a member of the Ness City Lions Club. He was a member of the Bazine American Legion Post #392, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and the Kansas National Education Association.
Surviving him are his children, Colette (Perry) Traxler, Overland Park, KS; Susan (Dwight) Lilly, Mentor, KS; Patricia (Rod) Bruntz, Valley Center, KS; James (Monica) Cole, Long Island, KS, and Mary (Jeff) Carter, Lenexa, KS; 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, his sister, Donna Stahl, Plainville, KS, his sister-in-law, Fay Foos, Wichita, KS and many other relatives and friends.
Rosary and Parish Vigil will be on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home at 7:00 P.M. Funeral service will be on Friday, July 12, 2019 at Sacred Heart Church in Ness City at 10:00 A.M., with burial in the Bazine Cemetery.
Memorial Contributions may be given to the Sacred Heart Church or Ascend Hospice.