Marion Cole


Posted: Thursday, November 27, 2003

Former Kasilof homesteader Marion Cole died Saturday, Nov. 22, 2003, in Silverdale, Wash. She was 93.

At her request, there were no services.

Born Marion Sophia Ingersoll in Steuben, N.Y., on Dec. 12, 1909, she was one of 13 children of John and Harriet Ingersoll.

At the age of 17, she became engaged to Milton Leon Cole.

In 1928, Milton Cole came to Alaska with his father, Perry, and friend Ed Zettle, to file on a 160-acre homestead in Kasilof.

The family wrote of those early days in Alaska:

"Milton and Ed stayed in Alaska to prove up on the homestead, while Perry returned to New York to gather up the family and Marion and drive across the states to Seattle to board a steamship for Alaska. The Brown family, later of Wasilla, joined them there. Milton came south by boat to meet them in Ketchikan. Milton and Marion were married there.

"The entourage continued on to Seward, by rail to Anchorage, then by boat down Cook Inlet to Kasilof. They lived in tents until Louis Nissen and Erling Frostad finished the log house.

"When Marion was about due with her first child, she caught a boat to Anchorage, where daughter Ramona was born at the old railroad hospital. A year and a half later, in 1930, son Lyle was born with the assistance of midwives Enid McLane and Lillian Cole.

"Milton loved Alaska, while Marion hated it. Marion persuaded Milton to leave.

"The family moved to Anchorage in 1932 and lived in a little shack between Third and Fourth avenues while Milton worked at Emard's cannery to make enough money for the return fare to New York."

The family settled in Alder Creek, N.Y., where Milton ran a gas station. Daughter Jetty, named after family friend Jettie Petersen of the Kenai Peninsula, was born in 1935.

Now, it was Milton's turn to persuade Marion, said the family.

In 1936, the family moved to San Fernando, Calif. Son Russell was born there in 1938.

In 1949, son Lyle returned to Alaska, finally settling in Kasilof.

"Milton and Marion made several trips to Alaska to visit their son, the McLanes and the Petersens. They and both sons worked for Columbia Ward," said the family.

"She was a great mom," her family wrote.

Mrs. Cole was preceded in death by her husband, Milton Leon Cole; her parents and 11 brothers and sisters.

She is survived by her brother, Charles Wilbur of upstate New York; daughter Ramona Rettig of Sweet Home, Ore., and her family; son Lyle Cole of Kasilof; daughter Jetty Morton of Suquamish, Wash., and her family; son Russell Cole of Sooke, B.C., and his family; niece, Dolly Christl of Kasilof; and many other relatives.

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