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Genelle Cole

Genelle M. Cole (Cole)

Saturday, February 2, 1935 - Thursday, April 2, 2020
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Genelle Cole
February 2, 1935 – April 2, 2020

Genelle Cole of Potosi, Mo., died Thursday evening, April 2, 2020, at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, after a determined but difficult fight to overcome ovarian cancer. With the full name Margaret Genelle, she always felt Margaret sounded “like an old lady,” but few who knew her ever would have considered her old. Even as her physical health declined, her will and dry humor persisted. She was proudly stubborn and independent, often shy and spoke few words, but held fond places in her heart for many interests, activities and people.

She was born February 2, 1935, on the family farm in the Pleasant Hill community near Potosi to Willard LeClere Cole (d. 1986) and Mary Bollinger Cole (d. 2000). Allegedly spoiled by her grandparents and disinterested in kitchen and household tasks, she preferred following her dad on his farm chores and errands, and wandering the countryside. Naturally athletic, she dreamed of playing basketball and softball. Genelle attended Potosi Elementary and Potosi High School, played the clarinet in band, and was a class officer. Backed by her experiences growing up on the farm, she began a 50-year career as secretary in the Washington County University of Missouri Extension Center following graduation in 1953. She reported to work the day after returning from her senior class trip. From her desk in the county courthouse, she became an almanac of community information and a loyal supporter of countless civic activities and programs.

Genelle gave passion, time and talent to many organizations over her lifetime. She was a faithful member of the Potosi United Methodist Church and its stewardship. Gallons of blood donations in her earlier adult life paid forward to her later needs. She served as secretary for the county Farm Bureau, and as secretary for the Washington County Livestock Producers Association and their yearly feeder cattle sales. Genelle took pride in her family’s long history in the area, and was involved in the Mine Au Breton Historical Society and the Moses Austin Heritage Festival. She helped manage countless home economics entries and exhibits each summer for the Washington County Fair, she engaged with many 4-H families and projects, and was delighted by eventual development of the small animal barn on the fairgrounds.

A lover of Cardinals baseball and Mizzou basketball and football, Genelle also was a devoted fan to the sporting pursuits of nephews, nieces and the children of many friends. Her nieces and nephews also credit her with expanding their childhood vocabularies with colorful words and phrases—typically learned while watching her battle a lawnmower that wouldn’t start, barbecue grill that wouldn’t light, or a grease stain on her khakis. Though she lived her entire life in Potosi, Genelle enjoyed road trips and adventures when she could, and many albums plus trays of Kodak slides documented her U.S. travels with family and friends. Her hobbies varied over time, but she consistently loved gadgets, embroidery, traditional Country & Western music, a freshly mown lawn, songbirds, and to everyone’s surprise: a rather cantankerous cat, Maggie, who was her loyal companion for 17 years.

While not a particularly accomplished cook, Genelle knew how to whip up a legendary mountain of perfect mashed potatoes (she would easily spot and snub a bowl of the instant variety), and she never ceased valiant attempts to carry on her mom’s traditions of a pecan pie for company occasions, and a date roll at Christmas.

She was a faithful member of the crew of Methodists who caringly serve meals and provide comfort to grieving families at their own times of loss. In this current period of abundant caution for the health of our communities, Genelle will be interred alongside her parents in New Masonic Cemetery, Potosi, following a graveside ceremony. A future gathering will be planned so that friends and loved ones can assemble to share stories and celebrate her life, together.

Genelle’s memory lives through dear friends and family who adored her, including her brother Eldon Cole and sister-in-law Charlotte of Mt. Vernon, Mo.; nephew Scott Cole with husband Tim Owens of Kansas City, Mo.; niece Deanna McElveen with husband Randy of Mt. Vernon, great-niece Kayleigh McElveen with fiancé Cody Schultz of Lincoln, Nebr., and great-niece Amelia McElveen of Austin, Texas; nephew Brian Cole with wife Melissa, great-nephews Riley and Alan, and great-niece Leyla, all of Columbia, Mo.; and niece Kelly Warzinik with husband Jason, and great-nieces Zoe and Sadie, also of Columbia.

Memorials can be offered to the Potosi United Methodist Church, Mine Au Breton Historical Society or The American Cancer Society.

Especially throughout recent months, many thanks and heartfelt appreciation go to those friends and healthcare professionals who have cared for her, offered up prayers, brought cheer, and provided immeasurable support to Genelle and her family.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 11:00am
    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 11:00am
    New Masonic Cemetery
    Potosi, MO 63664
    Rev. David Hedrick
  • Interment

    New Masonic Cemetery
    Potosi, MO 63664


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Private Condolence
Paul and Nancy Godfrey and Judy Ferris sent flowers to the family of Genelle M. Cole (Cole).
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Lisa Zeiss Brown

Posted at 12:20am
I was Mrs Coles home health nurse & lived to come see her every week at her home. She was a very sweet lady & will be missed by all of us who had the pleasure of caring for her.

Sharon McClain

Posted at 08:56am
Genelle and I worked together for years as a team for the county clerk until she was no longer able. We rode many miles together and became friends as we worked. I will miss her terribly. She knew that she was in my prayers daily. I pray for comfort for you all as you go through this difficult time. May your memories bring you peace in knowing that she is not suffering anymore.

Kathy Akers

Posted at 09:16pm
I worked with Genelle many years at the Courthouse. I believe she was the only one that had more years than myself. (42 years) Genelle graciously allowed me to call her Nellie and that is who she was..my friend Nellie. She amazed me with her vast knowledge in the University Extension Office. She WAS the Washington County Extension office. No matter what pamphlet I ask for, she immediately knew exactly which of the many file drawers to find it in. I will miss you, my special friend, Nellie.

Kay Price

Posted at 07:46pm
I first met Genelle in Nov. 1988 when I moved here to work for the Extension Office as a Business & Eco. Dev. Specialist. It wasn't long before Genelle and Rosemary Elliott invited me to go to church with them. Genelle helped a lot when we first started the Heritage Festival. We grew to be good friends over the years even after I quit the Extension job. She knew my husband Don for years before I even met him. More recently he did some gas repair work for her and I came along to visit. I remember spending many hours taking in the various home economics exhibits at the county fair. She was one of a kind. I'll miss her.

Paul and Nancy Godfrey and Judy Ferris

Posted at 03:08pm
Sent with love and remembrance,
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