Former state Rep. Ralph Cole, R-Elizabethton, was a man with many friends. And if you were one of Cole’s friends, you knew it. That’s because he would tell the people he dealt with how much he valued their friendships.
It’s amazing how a simple gesture like telling someone that he or she is your friend can lift someone’s spirits. Cole, who died Friday at age 85, knew this. No matter the circumstances, whether it be in business, politics or personal relationships, Cole believed in being genuine and honest in communicating with people.
Perhaps that is why he was so successful in everything he set out to do. Cole relished the friendships he made during his years as a businessman in Johnson City. And he was equally proud of the friendships and political partnerships he forged — with Republicans and Democrats — as a state legislator in Nashville.
Former Gov. Don Sundquist certainly knew and appreciated the depth of Cole’s loyalty. But more importantly, Sundquist told Press staff writer Amanda Marsh in Saturday’s paper, he valued Cole’s friendship.
“He was my friend,” said Sundquist. “He was a statesman who always did what he thought was right. He was a man of courage and dedication and was successful in life in every way.”
That’s why we will miss Ralph Cole. He always tried to be a good friend to those he served in Northeast Tennessee.