STATESVILLE Esther Cole, 95, passed away peacefully in her sleep at home and surrounded by her three children, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. She finished her life as she lived it, full of grace, dignity, and an unwavering positive attitude. For this she was much admired, and her legacy will live on in all who knew her. Esther Elaine Erickson Cole was born Aug. 16, 1924, in Waseca, Minn., to John Albert and Lillian Frentz Erickson. In 1926, the family moved to Michigan. Esther graduated in 1942 from Jackson High School in Jackson, Mich., as co-salutatorian of her class. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1946 with high honors, having earned majors in English and education and minors in Spanish and history. She had corresponded with her high school friend, Evan Cole, during his service in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. On Aug. 27, 1946, they married in Manhattan, Kan., where Esther's parents were then living. Esther was always a creative and devoted mother to her three children, sewing their clothes and sharing her love of books. In 1958, the family moved from Kansas to Hickory; then in 1962 to Statesville, into a home she and Evan designed. She has lived there ever since. Esther has been an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, serving as deacon, choir member, historian, and Sunday school teacher. She volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader and was a member of P.E.O. Chapter S, serving on N.C. State Board from 1987-94. She worked as an assistant librarian at Statesville Senior High School from 1968-78. After Evan's death in 1994, Esther enjoyed road trips and weekly movie night with "The Grandmothers." (Esther was the one who figured out the VCR.) A lover of reading, she could solve NY Times crossword puzzles well into her 90s, often using ink because she did not need to erase. Esther always had a needlework project going and designed her own knitting and crocheting patterns. She embraced technology and enjoyed Saturday morning "coffee chats" via Skype with her daughter in Arizona. Esther was preceded in death by her husband, Evan Cole, and her sister, Mildred Buzenberg. Surviving are her three children: Elaine Dillingham (Randy) of Flagstaff, Ariz., Laura Long (Brad) of Black Mountain, and David Cole (Mary) of Apex. She has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, as well as nieces and nephews. The family thanks Esther's Home Instead caregivers and Hospice of Iredell County for their compassionate, attentive care. Esther Cole's celebration of life service will be at 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, at First Presbyterian Church, 125 N Meeting St. in Statesville. The visitation will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Statesville. Memories and condolences may be left for the family at www.nicholsonfunerals.com. Nicholson Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Cole family.

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