Wilford "Buzz" Jr. Cole, 96, of Curtis, Nebraska, died February 17, 2023 in North Platte, NE.
Buzz was born January 28, 1927, in a farm house 12 miles south of Curtis, to Wilford Lowell and Jessie Maye (Gilliland) Cole.
Growing up Buzz had no close neighbors but entertained himself with his pet, dogs, cats, pigeons, pet owl and his horse Beauty. He started school at the age of four riding his horse Beauty to school.
His parents farmed, and after a severe winter in 1934 and battling grasshoppers in the summer of 1935 they gave up farming and moved to town where his dad worked as a mechanic and his mother took odd jobs. In town, Buzz started school with strangers, and quickly adopted a love for music and musical instruments. After school, his summers were filled with fishing, and exploring the Curtis Lake. In the fall and winter he hunted rabbits, quail, pheasants and trapped. Buzz went to High School at NSA in Curtis where his love for music and musical instruments led him to choir and band, where he played several variations of the Saxophone, playing in the Orchestra and band groups and solo competitions. After graduation, Buzz worked at the McCook Air Base as an Air Craft mechanic assistant.
Buzz joined the Navy in 1944 at the age of 17, where he was trained as an electrician, acquiring the name Buzz, and was assigned to a 220' mine sweeper named the USS Heed, operating from Hawaii to Sasabo, Japan; Shanghai China; Amoy China Formosa and multiple Islands in the region. He maintained generators, battery strings and wiring on ship to support mine sweep op's. After his discharge Buzz enrolled in the electrical program at Milford Trade School where he met and married Bonnie Jean Wilsey on December 4, 1948. His career as an electrician after trade school included a short stay in Curtis, Reliable Electric Co. in Denver and in 1966 back to Curtis where he became the Physical Plant Director and taught electrical and welding at UNSA until retirement.
Buzz was a lifelong member of the Curtis Methodist Church, where singing in the choir was his passion. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. He received the Curtis Community Citizen of the Year award in 2013, on April 26, 2007 he married Mary Mitchell.
Survivors include wife, Mary Cole of North Platte, NE; two sons, Steve (Linda) Cole of Curtis, NE; Nicholas Cole of Lincoln, NE; grandchildren, Kristi (John) Wetzel, Cairo, NE; Jeff (Jimi) Cole, Arnold, NE: Codi (Greg) Mortell, Susanville, CA; Stacy Cole and Mike Davis, Lincoln, NE; Jeremy (Dustie) Cole, Curtis, NE; Emily Merritt, Curtis, NE; Melissa (Matt) Daharsh, Firth, NE; Ryan (Tina) Cole, Peoria, AZ; Kristin Cole, Lincoln, NE; and Jason (Kinsey) Cole, Omaha, NE. 25 Great Grandchildren, and one Great Great grandchild.
Mary’s family: David Mitchell and Tammie Pryer, Janet (Mike) Coder, Susan (Rudy) Garcia, Elizabeth (Dan) Coder, Frances (Darrel) Smith and Charla Werkmeister. 12 Grandchildren and 19 Great Grandchildren
Buzz was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Bonnie Jean (Wilsey) Cole, June 2006, parents Wilford Lowell and Jessie Maye, daughters-in-law Marilyn and Kathy Cole and two great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at First United Methodist Church, 402 Center, Curtis, NE, February 24, 2023 at 11:00 AM with Pastor Brian Nicklas officiating.
Interment at 3:00 PM in Fort McPherson National Cemetery, Maxwell, NE.
Memorials may be given to the First United Methodist Church, 402 Center, Curtis, NE 69025 or Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course, 1101 Arrowhead Meadows Dr, Curtis, NE 69025.