COLE, Sen. Helen TeAta (Gale)
Campus flags will fly at half-staff through the weekend to honor the memory of longtime friend of the college Sen. Helen Cole, who died Wednesday, April 7, 2004, in Moore. She served two terms in the Oklahoma State Senate and once as mayor of the city of Moore. Her son is Tom Cole, who is serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Her ties to the University of Science and Arts are long, as she generously shared the memories and memorabilia of world-famous American Indian storyteller TeAta Fisher, a 1919 alumna of the college, who was her aunt. Helen’s middle name was “TeAta.”
“The only thing that shined brighter than her service to the State of Oklahoma,” said USAO President John Feaver, “was her devotion to Oklahoma’s rich American Indian heritage. Her gifts to the college have enriched the permanent collections of the USAO Art Gallery, and her friendship through the years will never been forgotten. She was a true public servant, a dedicated and loyal Oklahoman, and a friend. Even in death, she finds a way to keep giving, as American Indian students at the university will benefit from gifts to the TeAta Scholarship Fund.”
Helen Te Ata Gale Cole, 81, of Moore, was born on July 13, 1922, and died on April 7, 2004. She was married to John D. Cole Sr. on Feb. 9, 1946 in Ardmore. Helen and John were married for 54 years.
Helen was a member of McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church, where a memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 12. The church is located at 419 S. University Blvd in Norman.
Helen Cole was a proud member of the Chickasaw Nation, which inducted her to its Hall of Fame in 1999.
Her priorities were faith and family. However, her passions were politics, good government and the creation of a two-party system of government in Oklahoma. Helen served in the Oklahoma Senate, representing District 45, from 1984-88, and again from 1991-96. She was selected to be a member of the Oklahoma Delegation to the Republican National Convention in 1968, 1992 and 2000.
Cole is survived by her two sons, John D. Cole, Jr. (Christal) of Norman, and Thomas J. Cole (Ellen) of Moore; three grandchildren: Amy Cole Guisinger (Keith) and Mason Cole of Moore, and Christi Henthorn of Oklahoma City; three great-grandchildren, Charlie Cole, Ashley TeAta Guisinger, and Cody Guisinger, all of Moore; aunt Lahoma Barton of Ada; sister in law Maxine Gale of Dallas; sister in law Mary McMeans of San Angelo, brother in law Donald Cole of Oklahoma City; four cousins Linda Harris (Ralph) of Oklahoma City; Taloah Thorpe (Bill) of Castle Rock, Colo.; Gene Thompson (Vicky) of Austin; Betty Andrews (Harold) of Duncan; and six nieces and nephews, Authur Gale of Dallas; Joe McMeans of San Angelo; Lt. Col. Chris McMeans of Moore; Mary Alice MCCollum of Edmond; Vicky McNAlly of Oklahoma City and Kyle Cole of Oklahoma City.
Helen Cole was preceded in death by her parents; step-father E.E. Fiefield; husand John D. Cole Sr.; brother Thomas Gale; aunt and mentor TeAta Fisher, sister in law Nelda Cox; her husband Houston; and their son Robert Cox; brother in law Fred T. McMeans; and most recently her very special cousin Hiawatha Estes.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the USAO Foundation, designated to the TeAta Scholarship Fund, benefiting American Indian students. Donations may be sent to the USAO Foundation, 1727 Alabama, Chickasha, OK 73018.