Esther Elaine Erickson Cole

Posted at 3:47 PM on Oct 1, 2019


Esther Cole, 95, passed away peacefully in her sleep at home and surrounded by her three children on September 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 August 16, 1924, in Waseca, Minnesota, to John Albert and Lillian Frentz Erickson. In 1926 the family moved to Michigan. Esther graduated in 1942 from Jackson High School in Jackson, Michigan, as co-salutatorian of her class. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1946 with high honors, having majored in English and education and minored in Spanish and history. She had corresponded with her high school friend Evan Cole during his service in the Navy Air Corps during WWII. On August 27, 1946, they married in Manhattan, Kansas, where Esther's parents were 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, N.C., then in 1962 to Statesville, N.C., into a home she and Evan designed. She had 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 to 1994. She worked as an assistant librarian at Statesville Senior High School from 1968 to 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 New York 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, N.C.; and David Cole (Mary) of Apex, N.C. 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. on Friday, October 4, at First Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Meeting Street, Statesville, N.C. 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

Nicholson Funeral Home is serving the family. 

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