Maria Antoinette <I>Hawkins</I> Cole

Maria Antoinette Hawkins Cole

Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 10 Jul 2012 (aged 89)
Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Sanct of Heritage, FM, Lot 0, Space 20369
Memorial ID 93463053 · View Source
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Jazz Singer. Widow of Nat "King" Cole, the mother of Natalie Cole. A singer in Duke Ellington's band in the mid-1940s. Cole had a long singing career, performing with greats such as Count Basie and Fletcher Henderson. At a young age she and a sister moved to North Carolina to live with an aunt soon after her mother died in childbirth. She took voice and piano lessons as a child, and after graduating in 1938 from the Palmer Memorial Institute, she returned to Boston and sang with a jazz orchestra. She soon moved to New York to pursue a music career with jazz great Benny Carter's band. In 1943, she married Spurgeon Ellington, a Tuskegee Airmen flyer during World War II. He was killed in Georgia two years later during a routine postwar training flight. Cole began soloing at New York's Club Zanzibar in 1946. She eventually met Nat "King" Cole there, and the two were married in Harlem by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in 1948. The couple had five children, two of which they adopted. The couple spent the 1950s traveling throughout Europe performing and recording songs for Capitol Records. After her husband's death in 1965, Cole created the Cole Cancer Foundation and was active in charity work. She also produced James Baldwin's play Amen Corner on Broadway in 1965, a project that her husband had encouraged before his death. In 1971 she published a book about her husband, Nat King Cole: An Intimate Biography. She married writer and producer Gary DeVore in 1969. They divorced in 1978. She worked for the National Kidney Foundation, the Urban League and the Cardiac Research Foundation, Sloane Kettering Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Nat King Cole Memorial Fellowship at Tanglewood Music Center and Nat King Cole Generation Hope Inc., founded by her daughters, Timolin and Casey. Cole passed away from cancer at a Boca Raton hospice surrounded by her family in July of 2012.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Curtis Jackson
  • Added: 11 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 93463053
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maria Antoinette Hawkins Cole (1 Aug 1922–10 Jul 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 93463053, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .