Ed and Gwen Cole stand outside the Ed and Gwen Cole Center in Nashville following the Sept. 24, 2008 dedication service.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas–– Gwen Peck Cole, 91, died March 3, following a rich and full life of love and compassion for her family, friends and the United Methodist Church.
The name Gwen Cole is well known by United Methodist Men. As the result of a $500,000 gift, their mortgage-free Nashville building on Music Row is named the Ed and Gwen Cole Center.
“When presented with several ways to fund the building, it was Gwen that selected the plan as she stated, ‘This just makes too much sense not to do this,’” said Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “Both Ed and Gwen have great business skills, but most of all, they love what they love- the United Methodist Church, Stephen F. Austin State University, and the city of Nacogdoches.”
Gwen was born June 4, 1922, in Hamburg, Ark. “I’ve been a Methodist since I was six weeks old,” said Gwen.
Her mother and father died at an early age and Gwen was reared in Shreveport, La., by her sister, Flora Temple, and family. She graduated from Byrd High School in Shreveport and Meadows-Draughon Business College.
She worked for 26 years at Home Federal Savings and Loan. “I did everything including dusting the boss’ desk,” said Gwen. She was named a vice president after working there for 20 years.
In 1965, Gwen was introduced to Thomas Edward Cole by his aunt who taught Sunday school with Gwen at Noel Methodist Church in Shreveport. The couple was married a year later on Valentine’s Day when they were both 43 years of age.
The couple later formed E Cole Rentals and named their 15 nieces and nephews as shareholders. Gwen had six brothers and sisters, and Ed had four. In 2008, the Coles had 92 nieces and nephews. “Some of them are great, great, great,” said Gwen. “All of them are great.”
They lived in New Orleans, La., until they retired to Nacogdoches in 1978.
Gwen was a beautiful lady known for her kindness to others, for her truly wonderful sense of fun and good humor, and her devotion to her family and friends. She was always there to help and assist others. Those who knew her will never forget her sweet smile and loving personality. She embraced life with remarkable courage and grace, enjoying the rewards of a loving family and a host of devoted friends whose memory of all of the moments with her will be treasured forever.
She was a devoted member of the First United Methodist Church of Nacogdoches where she was active in United Methodist Women and many church-related activities.
Gwen was predeceased by her parents, Callie Sanford Peck and Emma Chavis Peck; sister, Flora Peck Temple; brothers, Cliff Peck, Richard Peck, Paul Peck, Milton Peck and Wilbur "Bud" Peck; and nieces, Sandra Peck Stevens and Aubrey Jean Tubbs.