Roland Cole

March 27, 1962 ~ April 3, 2021


April 16, 2021
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
260 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
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    April 16, 2021
    12:00 PM
    200 North N Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
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  • Roland Anthony Cole passed away suddenly on the morning of April 3, 2021 from complications of diverticulitis at the age of 59.

    Roland was born on March 27, 1962 at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah to proud parents Melva Messerly and Ronald Cole. He married Michelle Elzingre (divorced). Later married Julie Timothy.

    Roland lived in Salt Lake City with his mother until, at the age of 10 as they made their home in San Jose, California. They would return to Salt Lake City each year to spend time with his Grandma and Grandpa Messerly. His grandpa was his mentor and hero and time spent with Roland, or “Tiger”, as his grandpa nicknamed him, was golden for both of them. After graduation from high school, Roland joined the United States Marine Corp. He served proudly and honorably for 10 years, earning many decorations. He was a member of the Blacksheep Squadron and served tours of duty in the Philippines, Japan, Okinawa, and Korea just to name a few. He later spent time in the Marine Aircraft Group and as a recruiter in Salt Lake City. The friendships he developed with his fellow Marines was a gift he never took for granted. He treasured them all. He held true to the saying “Once a Marine always a Marine”. After his honorable discharge from the Marines, Roland worked for McDonald Douglas and Boeing in the Reno, Nevada area. He moved to Southwest Airlines as an Airline Maintenance Technician and remained with that company until he retired.

    Roland followed a dream and moved to Star Valley, Wyoming and set up residency in the town of Auburn. He finally could fully enjoy the outdoors as he had wanted for so long. He took pride in the horses he owned and was happiest when he had time to ride, especially on JC, his favorite horse. It was a particular joy for him to share his love of horses with his daughter, Jessica.

    Many of his friends and especially his Salt Lake City cousins took advantage of Roland’s location and made yearly trips to Afton to enjoy fishing weeks with Roland as their guide. The last three years were very meaniful as he was united with his brother Ken whom he thought he would never know. Their bond was immediate and strengthened quickly.

    As family and friends, we feel such a void in his passing but there is also gratitude for having him in our lives.

    “They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.”

    Roland is survived by his wife Julie, daughter Jessica (Cole) Bailey, father Ronald (Patricia) Cole, brothers Ken (Nancy) Rowley, Johnny Cole, Nathan Cole, sister Jacqueline Matthews, Aunt Linda (Dan) Woodhead, Uncle Gary Cole, grandchildren Sarah, Hunter. Preceded in death by his mother and grandparents.

    Graveside services will be held on Friday, April 16, 202 at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 N Street in Salt Lake City, beginning at Noon. A public viewing will be held prior to the graveside at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City from 10:30 to 11:30. Masks and social distancing will be required while at the services.

    Those wishing to attend the graveside services virtually may do so through the live Zoom stream with a link provided above.


    As if on the wings of eagles... He was surely one of them!

    - Frank Kennedy
    Roland was one of my heroes! When he married Julie, he was absolutely devoted to her, and we all marveled at his loyalty and integrity. I was also thrilled to have U.S. marine in our family! Roland was responsible and kind. He and Julie let us stay in their wonderful abode in Wyoming, where he let my boys ride horses and taught them how to shoot moving targets. The first time I met him at a family Christmas party, he came and repaired my heavy front door that wouldn’t close in the middle of winter! In Roland’s company, we always felt safe, protected and happy. He also prepared some truly memorable meals for us and taught my boys how to make “ the perfect pancake.” I am weeping at the thought of him having departed this earth, especially for having left Julie behind, although I know he will be one of her guardian angels because he always looked out for her! We love you so much sweet Julie, I will always love Roland!

    - Barbara Bowen
    I am so very sorry to learn of Sgt Ronald Cole’s passing. I was his very fortunate Commanding Officer from Dec 1980 until July 1982. We all in the Blacksheep Squadron were so blessed by his joyful and competent performance of duty. And his exceptional performance of duty kept us all safe as we aggressively trained, worked up, deployed and returned from flying 20 A4M Skyhawks to from MCAS El Toro CA to Yuma Arizona, back to El Toro, then all to Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, Iwakuni Japan, Kadena Okinawa, Cubi Point Philippines, Taegu Korea, with repeat trips to Kadena and Iwakuni, and finally retracing our steps back home again across the wide Pacific. Our A4s were ready, and our aircrews flew safely through his exemplary team efforts. Without his young, enthusiastic professionalism, we never could have accomplished our very challenging missions nor become the Marine Corps Attack Squadron of the Year. Rest easy Sgt Cole. You earned it! Semper Fidelis Marine, Father, and Husband!

    - Colonel Eric Hastings USMC Ret.
    The world has lost a beautiful person, loving husband, caring dad, hardcore Marine and a wonderful friend. My deepest condolences to the Cole family. Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts. Rest in peace, my friend.

    - Bonnie Dabalos-Castro