Rodney Eugene Cole
Rodney Eugene Cole, age 66, of Crestline, Ohio, died in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 5, 2020, after a hard-fought battle with COVID-19. He passed in the presence of his loving wife of 47 years, Kathy, and with the rest of his family holding vigil outside the hospital.
Rodney was born on March 24, 1954, in Shelby to Marlin and Effie Cole. Rodney graduated from Buckeye Central High School in 1972. He possessed the most common sense of any man his family knew, gained through a lifetime of real-world education. To provide for his family, Rodney founded Cole Distributing, Inc. as a one-man fuel route in 1980. Through hard work and sacrifice Rodney and Kathy, along with their son Mark and their faithful employees, have taken great pride in keeping families across the area warm during the winter and in keeping farmers operational for more than 40 years. Rodney’s appreciation for his customers and love for his company were on display for many years at his pancake breakfast where he would personally thank every customer. In 2007, Rodney was inducted into the North Central State College Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame.
While to the public Rodney was best known for his successful business, Rodney was happiest at his farm surrounded by his loving wife, Kathy, his three children Collette (Mark) Davis, Mark, and Heather (Brian) Belden and his five grandchildren Cole Davis, Meghan Belden, Lauren Davis, Elizabeth Belden, and Owen Davis. The one thing he loved above all things was family. He enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren grow up and supporting them in everything they did. When he was with his grandchildren you would always see him smiling.
Rodney was a farmer at heart. He spent his whole life on the family farm which has been in the family for over 100 years. He and Mark spent countless hours in the spring and fall tending to the fields. Recently, his oldest grandson, Cole, has been assisting.
Rodney was a kind and generous man who served others in many ways. He was a devoted parishioner at Sacred Heart. He provided advice and mentoring to all who came to him looking for help. He was an advocate for children through CASA. He could be seen supporting many local Church festivals, 4-H clubs, and other community functions.
Rodney is survived by his other half, Kathleen (Studer) Cole, whom he wed on December 1, 1973, his 3 children and his 5 grandchildren, his mother, Effie Cole, his sister, Ardella, and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Clarence and Lucille Studer. He was preceded in death by his father, Marlin E. Cole, and his sister, Arlene.
For safety reasons, Mass of Christian Burial for Rodney will be private by invitation only. Calling hours will not be observed. Family and friends are welcome to watch Rodney’s funeral mass live on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bethlehem, Shelby Settlement Facebook page on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 1 PM. Fr. Mike Geiger and Fr. Jeff Smith will concelebrate the Mass and burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family hopes to have a celebration of Rodney’s life at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, 5742 State Route 61 S, Shelby, Ohio 44875, or The Brian Muha Foundation, 874 Helenhurt Court, Westerville, Ohio 43081, www.BrianMuhaFoundation.org.
Care for Rodney and his family is being provided by the Penwell Turner Funeral Home, 168 West Main Street, Shelby.