Cover photo for Richard Benway Cole's Obituary
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Richard Benway Cole

October 2, 1939 — March 10, 2024

Waynesville

Richard Benway Cole

 

Ret. Colonel Richard Benway Cole, a devoted husband, father, brother, and military veteran, passed away on March 10, 2024. He led a remarkable life filled with service, dedication, and love for his family.  He is preceded in death by his parents, DeWitt Clinton & Margaret Benway Cole; a daughter, Major Ashley Cole McNorrill, JAG Corps; a son, Scott Richard Cole.
 
Born on October 2, 1939, Dick's journey was characterized by significant achievements and selfless contributions. After graduating from West Point Military Academy, he completed his education with a Master’s degree in Operations Research from Georgia Tech.  

 

After fighting in the Dominican Republic, he served as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Airborne and commanded an Army Infantry company.   Later in his career he commanded a Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Germany.  Serving for 21 years with valor and commitment, Dick rose to the rank of Colonel before retiring. During his time in Vietnam, Col. Cole was exposed to extensive and continuous ground combat.  His many valorous actions earned him a total of three Silver Stars, the Bronze Star for Valor, the Purple Heart, and other commendations for his outstanding service to his country, making him one of the more decorated soldiers in American military history. His soldiers continued to praise his leadership throughout his life.  

 

Following his military service, Dick transitioned into a successful career at the consulting company BDM where he continued to demonstrate his expertise and dedication. Beyond his professional endeavors, Dick found joy in various hobbies including hunting, fishing, and woodworking. His passion for these activities brought him moments of relaxation and satisfaction throughout his life.
 
Dick's legacy extends beyond his professional accomplishments and hobbies to encompass the profound impact he had on his family and friends. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Barbara Doub Cole, who stood by his side through thick and thin. In addition to his wife, Dick is survived by his son in law David McNorrill; sister, Claire Cole Decker; brother, DeWitt Clinton Cole III (Gail); two grandsons, Cole McNorrill and Fletcher McNorrill.
 
Dick will be dearly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. His dedication to duty, love for his country, unwavering love for his family, and zest for life serve as an inspiration to those whose lives he touched. May he rest in peace knowing that he made a profound impact on those around him and left behind a legacy of honor, integrity, and love.

 

Military honors and services will be held at Arlington, VA at a later date. 
 
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Tunnels to Towers, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306.

 

The care of Mr. Cole has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville 
To order memorial trees in memory of Richard Benway Cole, please visit our tree store.

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