Obituary: G. Emerson Cole, 93, former Darien resident, WWII veteran, broadcaster

G. Emerson Cole of Pinehurst, N.C., a former longtime Darien resident, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and went on to become a radio broadcaster died Saturday, March 31. He was 93.

• Check out the tribute to Mr. Cole at WIOZ.com

Mr. Cole was born Jan. 5, 1919. He graduated from Cornell University with mechanical engineering and business administration degrees in 1941. Cornell was where Mr. Cole began his career in broadcasting by building and operating a wired college network station, which has become the Cornell FM radio station.

 

Emerson joined the Navy on the day after the Pearl Harbor invasion in 1941. He was sent to General Electric to work on radar systems until he was called to active duty in 1944. He served as commander of PT 171 in the Philippines until his discharge in 1946.

After the war, Mr. Cole worked as a television commercial writer, director, and producer at several large advertising agencies in New York City. For 35 years, he lived in Darien, where he served as president of the YMCA and was a charter member of the Country Club of Darien.

In 1979, Mr. Cole moved his family to Pinehurst, N.C. On Feb. 24, 1980, he began his epic series of radio broadcasts, “The Big Bands Are Back” on WIOZ and WIOZ-FM, which he continued to do for 33 years until his death. Through the month of April you can listen to his rebroadcasts on Sundays at 6 p.m.

Mr. Cole was an avid golfer and a member of Pinehurst Country Club and the Fairwoods at 7. He was an active member of the Village Chapel and helped produce radio broadcasts of the chapel services for those unable to attend in person.

Mr. Cole was preceded by his wife of 60 years, Virginia H. Cole, in 2002.

He is survived by his two daughters, Jerroldine C. Garrett and her husband John Garrett of Penhook, Va., and Dianne E. Cole-Hall and her husband Alan Hall of Pinehurst; four grandchildren, Hal H. Flynt III of Florida, Charlene G. Salus of Pennsylvania, Holly E. Smith of Georgia, and Joe Garrett of Virginia; seven great grandchildren; his brother, Warren W. Cole of Connecticut; and his dog, Trixie.

A visitation will be held at Boles Funeral Home, 425 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Southern Pines, N.C., from 5-7 on Thursday, April 5. Funeral services will be held at the Village Chapel in Pinehurst, at 3, on Friday, April 6, with a reception to follow in Fellowship Hall.

Memorial donations may be made to either Alzheimer’s North Carolina Inc., 1305 Navaho Drive Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27609; or FirthHealth Hospice Foundation, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374.

Online condolences may be left at bolesfuneralhome.com.