Funeral rites were conducted Sunday afternoon at the First Congregational church in this city over the remains of Dr. C. L. Cole, who passed away from a heart attack Thursday evening while officiating as toastmaster at the banquet at the high school auditorium. The church was filled to overflowing, a large gathering of friends and admiring citizens coming to pay their last respects to a venerable citizen and public servant. Rev. E. C. Johnson, pastor of the church, delivered the funeral sermon. Among the honorary pallbearers was a group of state senators named by the lieutenant governor, C. Elmer Anderson, who had served with the deceased in the recent sessions of the state legislature.
Dr. Cole passed away as he was acting as toastmaster at the large banquet held each year under the sponsorship of the directors of the Northern States Turkey show. Over four-hundred persons were in attendance. Gov. Luther Youngdahl had finished his speech and Dr. Cole then introduced the next speaker, Christ Fiskness, after which he sat down on his chair, no one noticing anything out of the way at the time. Just as Mr. Fiskness started talking, however, Dr. Cole slumped over into the lap of the person sitting next to him. Persons on the stage immediately sensed something was wrong and carried him off into a side room. A doctor was called who pronounced him dead upon arrival.
The active pallbearers were Dr. L. W. Prescott, Rudolph Swore, Fred Foslien, Walter Alguire, Art Johnson and B. M. Unumb. The honorary pallbearers were Mayor J. L. Fitzgerald, Fred Oppel, Orley Tart, Earl Best, Dr. G. W. Clifford, Christ Fiskness, Sherman Costello, Rev. A. A. Secord, A. W. Unumb and P. H. Unumb.
The services started at 2:30 after the body had laid in state at the church since 1:00 o'clock that afternoon.
Dr. Claude L. Cole was born May 30, 1879, in the state of New York. His parents died while he was a small boy, he and his two older brothers being brought to Fergus Falls, Minn., where they became the adopted sons of their uncle, Dr. A. B. Cole, then a prominent physician at Fergus Falls, and who also served as state senator from Ottertail county. Another uncle, A. L. Cole, also of Fergus Falls, was a prominent citizen of the state at the time, being the GOP nominee for governor against John A. Johnson in 1908.
He and his two brothers spent their boyhood days at Fergus Falls, with all three of them becoming interested in the medical profession. The oldest, Dr. Carl Cole, became a physician. He was killed a number of years ago in a highway accident in the southern part of the state. His other brother, Dr. Herbert Cole, became a prominent physician at Mobile, Ala., and died there. Another brother, Harry, grew up with relatives at Glenwood where he has been employed by the Soo Line railway.
Dr. Claude Cole, after completing his high school education took up the study of dentistry, finishing his course and graduating from the College of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota in 1903. Previous to his graduation, he had served as a volunteer in the Spanish-American war.
He took up his dental practise in Alexandria immediately upon his graduation. On January 1, 1906, he married Miss Ernestine Raiter. They had one daughter, Mrs. Paul McGee, who now resides at St. Paul. He became interested in civic affairs and later became mayor of this city, serving for two terms, 1935-42. In 1942 he was elected state senator and in 1946 was re-elected for a second term. He was classed as a liberal and in recent years gave much public support to the Townsend movement.
(Park Region Echo, 16 Dec. 1947)
Earnestine Raiter Cole
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