Steve was the first of four boys born to Joan Elizabeth Luse and John Robert Cole. He spoke with pride of his beautiful and barely 5-foot-tall mother who had to be full of grit and vinegar to keep her four sons from killing each other while their dad was on the road. And he loved the story about his dad’s cousins from Canada making the long trek to Riverton to gaze upon this wondrous child who held the promise of perpetuating the Cole name.
Steve graduated from Riverton High School in 1965. One of the highlights of his high school years was playing in a band with his two best friends, Bill and Charley. He always professed to being nothing more than comic relief, but no one loved the music more than he. Many times he said that if life were fair, God would have given him the musical talent to go along with his secret desire to be a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player.
After high school, Steve went to Arizona State University for a year, but he longed for the seasons of Wyoming. He returned to the University of Wyoming and graduated with a degree in English. After he graduated, he went home to Riverton where someone asked him what he was going to do now. He replied without any hint of a smile that he was planning to open an English store. In reality he moved to Oregon for a couple of years, where he worked at odd jobs until he decided to enter law school.
Steve got his first job out of law school with Jack Langdon in Worland in September 1974. In December he went to a Christmas party. When “she” walked through the door, it was love at first sight. Aug. 27, 1977, was their most wondrous wedding day. Steve and Maurine had been married for 35 years at the time of his death.
When Steve was 28 years old, he developed insulin-dependent diabetes. From then on, he lived with the ravages of that terrible disease. It stole his eyes, his heart, his kidneys — but never his wit, his fine mind, his sense of humor, his absolute genius for recalling facts.
Steve and Maurine had their first child, Sophia, in 1981. Steve had just been hired for the job he knew he was created for. His little family left Worland for Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park when Sophia was 10 days old. Steve would serve as the United States Magistrate Judge in Yellowstone for the next 31 years. He and Maurine filled their century-old stone house with two more children, Stephanie and Ethan.
If Steve were writing this himself, he would want everyone to know that he received a new kidney from his wife in 1994 and that it was the only good organ left in his body. He would want everyone to know about his special relationship with his granddaughter, Lazuli. He would want everyone to know that his daughters are intelligent and capable women who know how to choose good men. That his son has become a fine man of faith and integrity. And he would want everyone to know that he, Steve Cole, had been sober for nine years.
Steve Cole was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Ron; and his sister-in-law Laney.
He is survived by his wife Maurine; three children, Sophia, Stephanie and Ethan; two special sons-in-law, Sophia’s Chris and Stephanie’s Chris; four grandchildren Lazuli, Amber, Evan and Asher; two brothers, Terry (Sandy) and Jon; and multitudes of in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and dogs who will forever cherish the fact that he was a part of their lives.
Steve’s brother-in-law once said that Steve Cole was not only the most interesting, but also the most interested person he had ever known. It was true — he was interested in everything.
And he had such a marvelous sense of humor. At Thanksgiving Steve said that he really hated to “shuffle off” this mortal coil without getting to have just one sip of Wyoming Whiskey. And he always said that when his time came, we would see him driving away toward the great hereafter in his 1965 bird-egg blue Ford Fairlane 500 with the windows rolled down, the rock ‘n’ roll music turned up as high as it would go, and an arm out the window waving goodbye. His family likes that vision.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30 in the Mammoth Chapel in Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park.
Memorial donations in Steve’s name may be sent to: Yellowstone Association, PO Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.
Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be sent to the family at www.thompsonfuneral.net or P.O. Box 807, Powell, WY 82435.