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Imogene O. Cole Obituary

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Imogene Olivett (McIntyre) Cole was born August 17, 1923 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to the late Perry and Henrietta McIntyre. Imogene was the last of 11 children, nine girls and two boys. From a very young age Imogene has always been filled with determination. She attended Manual High School where she sang in the choir and graduated in 1940 at the age of 16. Imogene had dreams of attending college after high school, however instead she spent the next couple of years caring for her ailing mother. In 1942, Imogene’s dreams of attending college came true, enrolling at Langston University, in Langston, OK. While attending Langston University, Imogene worked in the Dean’ s Office and the Registrar’s Office, preparing her for a lifetime of service to her church and community. She pledged Delta Sigma Theta sorority and graduated with honors in 1946.

After graduation, Imogene accepted a position in the Langston University Registrar’s office. She held this position from 1946 until 1948. In 1948, J. S. Winston recruited her to work for Southern Bible Institute in Fort Worth, TX. Imogene was recommended for the position by Mizetta Winston (J. S. Winston’s wife, and her first cousin) because of her dream to see the Church of Christ one day have its own school.

It did not take long for the school’s form to take shape and Imogene was officially hired as the school’s registrar. In 1950, the Texas Military Academy property was acquired in Terrell Texas, and the school was renamed as Southwestern Christian College (SWCC). Imogene continued her work as the school registrar while also teaching shorthand and typing classes. It was also at SWCC during a lectureship in 1950, where Imogene met the love of her life, Robert L. Cole. Robert and Imogene began dating and were married on August 29, 1952.

Excited about their future together, Robert and Imogene relocated to Detroit Michigan, and to this union four children were born: Robert, Jr, Sheryl, Jacqueline and Perry. Robert Jr, after fulfilling his lifelong dream to become a doctor, proceeded her in death. After 47 years of marriage, her beloved husband and friend, Robert L. Cole Sr, also preceded her in death. Imogene was a great mother, not only to her four children, but also to her great-niece Kymberlyn, who she and Robert loved and raised as their own after her mother’s passing.

Although moving to Detroit brought on a new era for Imogene, her work as a studious Christian continued. In Detroit, she continued fundraising activities for SWCC, while raising her children and working as a Social Services Supervisor for the State of Michigan. It was at that time that her love for service began to expand into her community. Imogene became the neighborhood advocate in the neighborhood where she resided in for 47 years. She successfully took on city hall to have a dump removed from the neighborhood, greatly improving the quality of life for her neighbors. She was honored by and received recognition from the City of Detroit for her contributions to the neighborhood. She retired from the State of Michigan after 30 years of service in 1987.

Being believers in Christian education, not only did she and Robert support SWCC, but they also began raising funds and supporting Michigan Christian College (now Rochester University) in Rochester, Michigan and Luckett Christian Academy, a K-12th grade school that they helped start and supported until its doors closed. In November 1953, Imogene organized a regional competition project, the King and Queen contest, among the black trustees. This project brought in over $10,000 that year. In 1954, there was new light shone upon the school. Jack Evans became the first black president of Southwestern Christian College and established the National Dinner Day, appointing coordinators throughout the country, which still brings in substantial funds for the college annually to this present day. Imogene worked alongside the Dinner Day committee, making the small congregation where she attended, River Rouge Church of Christ, among the highest fundraising congregations in the nation. Velma Dowell, a great friend and co-fundraiser, worked with Imogene to organize the Moonlight Gospel Cruise, which netted $18,000 for SWCC.

In 1998, Imogene relocated to Rowlett, Texas. She immediately set about forming the Bowser Associated Women chapter at Greenville Avenue Church of Christ. She was recruited by J. S. Winston, once more to work with him at the J. S. Winston Sound Doctrine Foundation, which provides scholarships to ministerial students and assists in operational expenses for SWCC. Before his death, J. S. Winston appointed her as the office manager of the Foundation. Imogene, along with the other trustees of the Foundation, vowed to keep J. S. Winston’s dream alive. Thus, she continued to do fundraisers to enable the Foundation to supply scholarships and to assist SWCC until her retirement in 2015, at 92 years old.

Imogene had an immense love for Christ. She loved waking up on Sunday mornings and getting dressed in her Sunday’s best. She wore a collection of lovely suits and gorgeous hats on Sundays to worship service. Her loved ones will always remember her for making the best pound cakes, and yeast rolls. To her neighbors, church family and many friends, Imogene will always be known as a mother figure, she truly encompassed the phrase of no child being left behind. Imogene was a supporter of Christian education for over 70 years, supporting students of all ages, from kindergarten through college. She continued to be a champion for Christ and a service to education and the community until her death on February 27, 2020.

She leaves to honor her precious legacy her children: Sheryl Dudley of Heartland, Texas; Jacqueline Spencer (Ken) of Oak Park, Michigan; Perry Cole (Tyrza) of Garland, Texas; and Kymberlyn Alexander (Ruben) of Lithonia, Georgia; a daughter-in-law LaRenna Cole (Robert J.R.) of Detroit, Michigan; two special nieces, Margaret Taylor (Michael) of Muskogee, Oklahoma; Zeporia Hughes of Oakland, CA; ten grandchildren: LaKisha Cole, NiKoreyia Cole, Carin Cole, NiKeya Knowles (Adan), Robert Cole-Nimocks, Perri Harris (Samuel), NiKayla Williams, Khiry Williams, Kendall Cole, and Payton Cole; fourteen great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held 11:00am, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, at Greenville Avenue Church of Christ, 1013 S. Greenville Avenue, Richardson. Graveside services will be held 2:00pm, Saturday, March 7, in Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, MI. A gathering of family and friends will be held Tuesday evening at the church from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

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