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November 24, 2010 5:00 PM CST

In Memoriam: William Graham Cole


William Graham Cole, 79, passed away on November 22, 2010 at Mayview Convalescent Center.

A native of Johnston County, he was the son of the late Carmie Gamaliel Cole and Callie Ann Parrish Cole. The youngest of five children, Graham was raised on a rural farm in the community of Wilson’s Mills. At 21, Graham married his high school sweetheart, the former Lena Grey Price, and remained married to her until 1979. Together, Graham and Lena raised their son, David, in Raleigh. Graham spent many years with his special friend, the late Peggy Gurley of Smithfield, and was a big part of her extended family. An avid Wolfpack fan, Graham followed N.C. State basketball and football from the days of Reynolds Coliseum and Riddick Stadium to present-day venues. Graham loved to spend time with his family in the outdoors, camping, hunting and especially boating and fishing on the North Carolina coast and on Kerr Lake as well as the lakes and rivers of Maine. His son David's family, including his three grandsons, was the light of his life. He was very proud of all their experiences and accomplishments.

Graham learned the carpentry trade from his father and eventually built his own home and worked on many others in the Oak Park subdivision in Raleigh. He also worked several years for NC State College in the maintenance and grounds department. In the mid sixties, Graham changed careers and became the first brick salesman hired by D.T. Fisher of Custom Brick Company. He left Custom to work for other brick companies, but returned there to work for Tom Fisher until his retirement in 2005. During this time period, he became a part owner of Nash Brick Company and was very proud to be a part of Nash’s revitalization and future success. Graham was well known throughout many parts of eastern North Carolina and especially Wake and Johnston counties. He was well liked, respected and trusted by his customers and co-workers in the building industry. Graham was well known for his friendly service, unfailing dedication and strong work ethic. The brick business was a very important part of his life, and his knowledge and experience was valued by all those that knew him.

Soon after retirement, Graham suffered from multiple health concerns and spent several years at Blue Ridge Health Care Center, Brighton Gardens of Raleigh and Mayview Convalescent Center.

The family wishes to thank all of the staff at these facilities, the staff of Hospice of Wake County and the many doctors, nurses and aides that cared for Graham in declining health. But most of all, Graham could not have managed without the constant day-to-day love and care of his former wife and special friend, Lena P. Cole.

Even though he was the youngest sibling, his four sisters looked to him for advice and guidance, and Graham was always there to lend a helping hand. Graham was a true southern gentleman who never met a stranger, made friends wherever he went and never missed an opportunity to enjoy and share a home-cooked meal. He was a very caring person who would do anything for anyone, anytime. As a testament to the love and respect his family had for him, Graham’s son, grandson, great nephew and great-great nephew all have Graham as part of their name. Graham will be missed and remembered by all that knew him, and the world will be a little dimmer without his wonderful smile.

Funeral service will be 11:00 AM Saturday, November 27, 2010, at Aversboro Road Baptist Church, 1600 Aversboro Rd. Garner. Burial and graveside service will follow at Montlawn Memorial Park, 2911 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh.

He is survived by his son, David Graham Cole daughter-in-law Clare, and grandsons; Justin, Dylan and Ryan of Hampden, Maine; sister, Barbara Koseruba of Wilmington; former wife and caregiver, Lena P. Cole of Garner; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Victoria Wallace, Emma Lee Parrish and Bessie Jeter and special friend, Peggy Gurley.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 PM Friday, at Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, 1200 Benson Rd., Garner and other times at the home of Lena P. Cole at 1440 Aversboro Rd., Garner.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Graham’s name may be made to Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Condolences may be made to

About the Author

The News & Observer is the regional daily newspaper of the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Read The News & Observer online at


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