December 4, 1940 - November 12, 2012 TULSA
Dr. Joe Charles Cole, "G.I. Joe", 71, of Tulsa, passed away Monday, November 12, 2012. He was born December 4, 1940 in Joplin, Missouri to Joada and Charles Marion Cole. Joe attended the University of Arkansas, was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and later transferred to the University of Oklahoma where he graduated from Medical School. He performed his internship at Philadelphia Naval Hospital and was awarded the honor of "Best Intern". He served as Medical Officer on the nuclear submarine USS John Marshall having graduated from the Naval Submarine Medical School and having spent four years in the Nuclear Submarine Medical Service. Dr. Cole performed his Ophthalmology Residency at the prestigious Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was Chief Resident and received additional training at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, Post-graduate Course in Ophthalmology and the Harvard-Lancaster Course in Ophthalmology. He then served an additional two years in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps where he served as consultant to the Navy Surgeon General and Special Physician Assistant to the President of the United States. He then served as Chief of Ophthalmology at the Memphis Naval Hospital. In total, serving 29 years, including both active and reserve duty retiring with the rank of Captain. Joe established his Ophthalmology practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he served as President of the Oklahoma State Society of Ophthalmologists, and President of the Tulsa Ophthalmology Society. He was a member of the America Academy of Ophthalmology, having served as the Councillor from Oklahoma, was a delegate to the Oklahoma State Medical Association and Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Joe authored several scientific papers in ocular surgery and was a pioneer in offering "No-Stitch Cataract Surgery" in Oklahoma, the first surgeon in Oklahoma to perform that procedure. Joe and Leslie joined the Classic Thunderbird Club International and were active members for over 25 years. Joe was an avid music lover, started playing the violin at the age of 4 and continued playing throughout his life and has served as Concert Master of the Tulsa Community Symphony Orchestra. Joe served as an elder in the church and enjoyed teaching, researching and studying theology and through this became a child of God, a loving husband, father and grandparent and friend to many. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, "Leslie" Cole, his four children, Charles Mark Cole of Boydton, VA, Laura Denise Startz of Houston, TX, Angela Renee Griffis of Edmond, and Courtney Lee Grogan of Edmond, his 12 grandchildren, Bradyn, Declan, Liam, Landon and Lillian Cole, Kyle and Cole Startz, Riley, Megan and Nathan Griffis and John and Grace Grogan, his sister, Judy Cole Rownak of Fayetteville, AR, his three nephews, David, Brian and Joel Rownak, Aunt Evedna "Toots" Gordon of Tulsa and adopted, mother, sister, friend and confidant, Carrie Pettigrew of Tulsa and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. The funeral service will be held 1PM, Friday, November 16, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church, Tulsa. Family suggests contributions in Joe's memory may be made to: Tulsa Community Orchestra Scholarship Fund, 909 S. Boston Ave., #2204, Attn: Barbara Slagle, Tulsa, OK 74119.