Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
William Norton Cole Memorial
William Norton Cole Memorial

William Norton Cole

William Norton Cole

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

William Norton Cole was literally a man of steel. Born and raised his entire life in Sedro Woolley, he outlived all nine of his siblings and survived past doctor’s odds to the age of 90. Heart disease was a hereditary condition that he continued to fight against for most of his life by staying physically active and tending his land.

Bill died at his favorite place on earth, his home on the evening of July 25.

William Norton Cole, known to friends and family as Grandpa Bill, was born into a large family off the Fruitdale Road on March 15, 1925. He married Clara Olivers in 1945 and together they had 3 children; Dennis Wayne, Lucille and Linda.

To describe Bill as hardworking and honest would be an understatement. He worked for Skagit Steel for over 42 years before he retired to work on his own property. He had a knack for working with his hands, a skill he developed as a welder. He built many things such as the personal home he shared with his wife, a life-size playhouse for his granddaughter, and a motor home with his brother Cal. One thing remained consistent throughout his entire life; he had a special spot in his heart for his family. Bill spent most of his time with family on his prized campground. The campground is where everyone called him Grandpa Bill.
Bill and Clara enjoyed traveling the world on cruise ships to far off places such as Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean. He also had a passion for all things outdoors. Bill spent many winter days Steelhead fishing on the Skagit River and bird hunting east of the mountains. He also loved a good whisky and coconut cream pie.
Bill was preceded by death by his wife Clara who passed in 2002 and son Dennis Wayne who was killed in action in Vietnam in the summer of 1967. A small piece of his heart died with Wayne. Talking about Wayne always brought tears to his eyes until the day he passed.

Bill is survived by his two daughters, Lucille and Ande Mitchelle of Sedro Woolley and Linda and Randy Chiabai of Bellingham, and their two children: Jay and Jana. During his last and most difficult year of life, the recent birth of his great grandson, Ethan William, provided much joy and an extra sparkle in his eyes.

Bill’s life will be celebrated during a Funeral Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Friday July 31st 2015 at 11:00am. Interment will follow at the Sedro Woolley Union Cemetery. Reception to follow at 6254 Fruitdale Road, Sedro Woolley WA 98284.


  • Gloria Rivera

    As a relative newcomer to Sedro-Woolley and Immaculate Heart of Mary I was impressed by the faith-filled lives which Bill and Clara led. I was also impressed by their hospitality when they invited members of the parish to their campground for Mass and our group visits.

    Rest and Peace and many blessings for both you and Clara.

  • David Bricka

    I have vivid memories of the Cole family from the minute we moved right next door to them in the summer of 1963. They were all so very nice to us as we became part of the Carter Road family. Wayne, Lucille and Linda let us hang out and be crazy kids. It was fun watching Lucille practice with her fire batons in the back yard! All the while, Bill and Clara were doing what all parents did back in the ’60’s and that was let their kids be kids.

    Emblazoned in my brain like it was just yesterday is the image of Bill and Clara in our living room, sitting on the couch talking to George and Joan about funeral plans the day after they found out that Wayne had been killed. The neighborhood came together in grief for this all American family.

    My deepest condolences to the family as you mourn Bill’s death and celebrate his amazing life. Your family impacted my family greatly and I am eternally grateful for the positive influences you all had on my life.
    Godspeed good and faithful servant. Peace to you all.

  • Bob Ireland

    Bill has been a friend to this family forever, always ready to help and always
    in a pleasant mood. He will be missed

  • tracy and robin clay

    Lucy and Andy sorry to hear about your dad you are in are thoughs and prayers

    Tracy and Robin

  • Brenda Suryan Sem

    Lucy, Ande, Linda and family:

    Hugs to all of you for sharing such a wonderful man with all of us. His smile did light up a room, just like his brother Cal. Thoughts, prayers and love to all of you.


  • Debbie Brampton

    Uncle Bill you always lit up the room with your welcoming smile, wit and love. We will all miss you so much.