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'If you knew him, you loved him'

The death of Arthur Cole is the passing of a true gentleman.

CHALPAT SONTI August 21, 2014 3:53am

The late Arthur Cole, taken in 1995.


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It seems impossible to better the words of tribute to Arthur Cole than those in the headline above, spoken by son-in-law Mario Furletti.

‘‘You wouldn’t hear one person with a bad word against him,’’ he said.

The feeling was widespread too, following the death last week of Mr Cole, 91.

The Northwood dairy farmer was many things to many people, but what he was to anyone who came across him was a gentleman.

Born in Albury in 1923, Mr Cole grew up in Bathanga. As a youngster he used to herd cattle from Bathanga to the Albury sales on horseback.

He served in the air force during World War II and was based near Darwin. He came to Northwood in 1946 to help his uncle, Bert Sommers, who farmed there.

Mr Cole bought his own 250acre property, Greenbank, at Northwood in 1947 where he ran dairy cattle and pigs. In 1952 he married Shirley (Moloney), who he met at a dance at the VRI Hall.

‘‘He offered to walk her home, but he didn’t realise she lived just four doors away,’’ Mr Furletti said.

‘‘He had to organise the wedding day (March 29) around the cows calving.’’

Among many pursuits Mr Cole was a member of the RSL and Legacy. The Legacy wood drives were held at his property where he would help cut the wood.

The year he moved to the region was also the year Mr Cole began his long association with the Seymour Football Club.

He captained the reserves side to a Waranga league premiership in 1948, with the Lions beating Broadford at Tallarook to claim the minor premiership.

Club records show he was on the committee for many years, including many seasons as junior vice-president, beginning in the early 1950s and concluding in 2004.

Along with close friend Jack Byrnes, he was awarded life membership of the club in 1972 to a standing ovation on a crowded presentation night.

He was also awarded the VCFL and GVFL service to football award in the early 1990s, pictured here, which was proudly displayed on the mantelpiece at his home.

Club secretary Gary Brown said Mr Cole was ‘‘immensely involved’’ in the club senior premierships of 1975-76, 1981-82 and 1991, was also a founding member of Club Bingo, and the night competition which helped keep the the club afloat in otherwise lean years.

He was also heavily involved in the pursuit of the current Kings Park ground lights in 1989.

‘‘A superb person, with a joyful smile, hardworking and honest, with high values, a person who always put the SFNC first and dedicated most of his working leisure life time to our great club,’’ Mr Brown said.

The timekeeper’s box at Kings Park was named after him — the Arthur Cole Pavilion — in 1990.

‘‘I’ve done just about everything, from training to selling raffle tickets, but I’ve never actually done the timekeeping,’’ he told the Telegraph that year.

He did his bit in other ways too. Pictured here is the match ball from that 1991 premiership, which a cash-strapped Seymour auctioned off at the presentation night that year. Mr Cole bought the ball for $600, and it has been donated back to the Lions.

Mr Cole leaves behind his widow Shirley, children Beverley (Stray), Colleen (Green), Diane (Byrne), Shirley (Furletti) and Barry, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1992, and it was in remission after an operation, reappearing in 2012.

He was a member of the family’s Relay for Life team at last year’s event at Kings Park.

Mr Cole’s funeral will, appropriately, be held at Kings Park from 1pm today.

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