Clifford Wallace Cole, became a member of Claremont (CA) Monthly Meeting in 1956 when he transferred his membership from Bell (CA) Friends Church, his church home through his early years. He was born in Broken Bow, Nebraska on February 6, 1924 to Everett Ward Cole and Helen Henrietta McClellen Cole. He died on February 2, 2013 in Kaneohe (HI) near the Honolulu home of his son, Daniel Tschudi.
Cliff’s family moved to Bell (CA) in 1927 where Cliff (a life-long athlete, competitive even into his 70s and 80s) participated in track and field events at Bell High School and subsequently at Whittier College in Whittier (CA). After his WW II time in the Marines, earning a Purple Heart in the Pacific theater, he returned to Whittier to finish his Bachelor’s Degree on the GI Bill. At Whittier he first became familiar with the more liberal, pacifist, unprogrammed Friends meetings. After graduation he traveled to Brazil with his grandmother to visit his young aunt, Mary Sue Moore, whose husband was with a US oil company. Some months later Cliff continued by ship to Europe and to a work camp in Sweden where he met a work-camper from Switzerland, Edith Tschudi. After becoming engaged, US visa quota restrictions required that they separate for a time so Cliff returned to the US to begin his work as an elementary school teacher in rural central California while Edith accompanied her sister to Australia to await her US visa.
In July of 1955 Cliff and Edith were reunited in Honolulu, married under the care of Honolulu Friends Meeting, traveled to California and soon established their home in Claremont. Cliff taught for nearly 20 years in Claremont. With their six children, he and Edith made their home in a large rambling old house in the center of town where their hospitality was legendary and their home was open to all with overflow sometimes sleeping in the small travel trailer parked out back. Singing and folk dancing were important to Cliff. He often questioned authority and enthusiastically, though usually quietly, expressed his progressive political views, for example, traveling to Mississippi to participate in the Freedom rides in the ‘60s. He supported Edith’s activism for nuclear disarmament and her actions against US military intervention in Central America.
At Claremont Monthly Meeting Cliff served, through the years, on well over a dozen Meeting committees (both Standing and ad hoc, occasionally as Clerk or Co-clerk); as well as sometimes acting as liaison with several larger Friends organizations. His primary interest and emphasis, with service measured in decades, involved issues of peace and social justice. His life-long physical strength and fitness were appreciated and utilized when, in the early years, he regularly helped to set up the Meeting’s rented space for Sunday use; and later, after the Claremont Meetinghouse was built in 1963, participated in care of the building and grounds.
In 1966, the family (Cliff, Edith and their five children) drove the Pan-American Highway to Central America, camping en route to Bogota, Colombia where Edith and Cliff taught in the American School, Colegio Nueva Granada; and where Aaron, their sixth child, was born. They intended to stay only one year, but stayed for three, sojourning with Bogota Friends Meeting. Adventurous travel together, and singly, was very much a part of the Cole family’s life; as was interest in, and acceptance of, all people as demonstrated by Cliff’s trips to Russia, China, and Mongolia; by his travels in the USA; and by his attendance at the Olympics in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.
Cliff and Edith separated in 2001 and Cliff, who moved to Pomona (CA), became less active with the Claremont Meeting although he continued to attend occasionally with his partner, Evelyn Folkins, who predeceased him.
A Memorial Meeting to remember Cliff’s life was held in the manner of unprogrammed Friends at the Claremont Friends Meetinghouse on February 23, 2013 at 2PM.
He is survived by his wife, Edith Tschudi, living with their daughter Sarah Zaman (Arif) in Lahore, Pakistan; daughter, Hannah Roberts (Barry), North Lauderdale (FL); and sons, Samuel Cole (Dana), Decatur (GA); Daniel Tschudi (Stephen), Honolulu; Benjamin Cole (Aom) Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand; Aaron Cole, Oakland (CA); and aunt, Mary Sue Moore, Anaheim (CA). Cliff also leaves 10 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.