Gilbert C. Cole of Chetopa, Kan., died Saturday, July 5, 2008, at Landmark Hospital in Joplin, Mo. He was 85.

Mr. Cole was born April 16, 1923, in Edna, Kan., to George Harrison and Marybelle Lillie (Smothers) Cole. He was a graduate of Edna High School and Labette County Community College. 

He was a World War II veteran of the Navy, serving as a signalman first class. He served 2 and 1/2 years in the South Pacific and at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Ill. until Jan. 16, 1946.  

He served as councilman with the City of Chetopa for two years; on the Chetopa School Board for four terms; Labette County Community College for two terms; a lifetime member of the American Legion, serving two terms as commander; member of the Chetopa Chamber of Commerce, serving on the board of directors and as president. He was a member of Chetopa United Methodist Church, serving as trustee on the administrative board and other committees as well as teaching Sunday school.

He married Marybelle Hackney on Nov. 4, 1945, in Parsons, Kan. The couple owned and operated Cole's Farm Store in Chetopa for 40 years. She preceded him in death on June 21, 2002, after an illness. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Richard Cole.

Survived by three sons and their wives, M. Scott and Dorothy Cole of Hanover, Md., Stephen H. and Nancy Cole of Broken Arrow and Kelly C. Cole of Kansas City, Mo.; one brother and his wife, C. Roscoe and Norma Cole of Overland Park, Kan.; five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Chetopa United Methodist Church. Pastor Susan Brown will officiate. Burial will be in North Edna, Kan., Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Dale Withington, Larry Juenemann, James Rupert, Gale Hellwig, Bill Eads and Rodney Ritts. Honorary pallbearers will be Stuart Warwick, Joe Paden and Ron Olson. 

There will be a visitation for family and friends prior to services, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Thomas Funeral Home of Welch.

Memorials are suggested to the Chetopa United Methodist Church.