Jan Carroll Cole


Jan Carroll Cole died at St. Luke CHI Hospital in Houston, Texas on July 7, 2019 after sustaining a head injury that caused a stroke. She was born August 26, 1940, the firstborn child of Dr. Thomas Cole Sr. and Margaret Thomason Cole.
It was clear from early childhood that Jan was no ordinary child. She was precocious and prodigious showing intelligence, musicality and athletic prowess. Before she started school, she could climb the magnolias in front her grandmothers house from bottom to top. At Camp Mystic she won numerous awards for the Kiowas in swimming and marksmanship. Later in high school she won district championships in tennis and state championship as a flutist. She was valedictorian of Huntsville High School on her graduation in 1957.
She attended college at Sophie Newcomb, majoring in music and romance languages. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She excelled in her studies and was popular in the sorority.
A major life-changing event occurred in 1960 when she elected to take part in the Newcomb Junior Year Aboard Program. She attended the Sorbonne in Paris. In addition to her academic studies, she took a tutorial from the famed flutist Jean Pierre Rampal. She fell in love with France and all things French. Following graduation, she returned to France to study and to perform concerts in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. She won a Harriett Hale Wooley Scholarship among other such prizes which allowed her to continue her studies abroad. However, at some point, her father pointed out that all of her frantic schedule of performances across a continent was great for her and Europeans, but it did not pay the bills. He insisted if she were to continue as a performing artist she should return to the United States and secure the appropriate credentials to gain an academic post, just as her mentor, Rampal, had done.
This caused some conflict. However, she returned to Austin to enter the Masters Program in Music and Romance Languages. Performances in the United States with pianists and guitarists followed. She composed and directed music for theaters in Houston, Kansas City, and San Francisco among other places.
Her father had brought her a number of sea shells he collected at Luzon, Okinawa, Japan and other islands after WWII. Jan had always been fascinated with shells and she developed a side-line business in San Francisco she named Seascape. It may have been an escape from the intensity and stress of musical performances and musicians. She continued this work in Bay City, Texas later.
She moved back to Texas when her Mother's health began to fail. She taught music to a large number of students and worked as an instructor at Sam Houston State University for a while.
Jan was a life-long member of the Methodist Church. She especially enjoyed attending the Joy Sunday School class. She was employed as a organist at First United Methodist Church until 2016 when she sustained her first major injury caused by falling.
Jan was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolutions and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She frequently enlivened their meetings as a pianist and song leader.
She was preceded in death by her parents Thomas and Margaret Cole, and sister-in-law Dorothy Cole. She is survived by her brother, Dr. T.C. Cole, Jr. Her cat, Callie, was run over the day Jan died, the separate events not being known to either the other.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Joy Sunday School Class of the First United Methodist Church or to the Huntsville Community Vineyard Church.
A visitation will be held at Jan's grandparents' home, The Thomason House, 1207 Ave J, on Friday, July 12th from 5PM to 8PM.
Her graveside funeral service will be conducted by Rev. Mark Pickett at 11AM, Saturday, July 13th at Oakwood Cemetery.
During the 1980's Jan wrote a poem entitled, "Fame, Conceit, Humility"
A balloon ride in the air
And never knowing where
It will land
A pin into the ball
A heavy painful fall
No helping hand
A ride unto the end
It gently will descend
Onto the sand.
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Published on July 11, 2019
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20 posts

ruby lynch
Jul 17, 2019
tom, we just learned of jan's death. she was a special individual who always had the 'can do' attitude. we will never forget the kindness and love she gave not only to mom (Juanita), but to our whole family. our families have been united for many years and this is another closed chapter of our book. ray and I both send our condolences and love.
Tibbie Lynch
Jul 17, 2019
I just learned of Jan’s passing. She was one of the most unique women I have ever known and easily the most talented. My Mom absolutely adored her. In more ways than one, this is the close of an era. My condolences to you, Tom - Harry and I both send our love.
Agustus l." Marvin" Denkins
Jul 15, 2019
Dr Cole I am sorry to hear of the passing of your sister Jan.I was not able to attend any of the service due to my sister being in the ccu at St Joseph again you have my heart felt sympathy.
Mary Beth Kaltwasser Van Horn
Jul 14, 2019
Tommy...........I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you
Jul 14, 2019
Dr. Cole,
I am very sorry for your loss,
My heart goes out to you and my prayers!
Penny Ellisor Fowler
Terri Burns Cox
Jul 12, 2019
I was lucky to have Jan teach me flute lessons when I was a young girl. She was so talented and she was definitely one who inspired my love of music. My mother loved her and Tommy, always talking about how smart and kind they were to her. A wonderful family. My prayers are with you, Dr. Cole.
Joan Lee
Jul 12, 2019

I did not know your sister Jan well, but always heard wonderful thing about her. You will miss her. Thoughts and prayers are coming your way.
Grace and Harry Bohan
Jul 12, 2019
We are so sorry we cannot attend visitation, etc. as age ones have limitations!! But you know you will always be in our hearts thru thi tragi time! Jan was such a unique individual I wish we had had more contact! Special love yo you, always one of our favorites!!
Larry Monzingo
Jul 12, 2019
My condolences to you Tommy and all your family.
Rager Moore
Jul 12, 2019
Jan was great friends with my parents and often helped my Dad, Harrell Moore, with his song writing projects. Just weeks before her death she wrote an arrangement for Dad of the Old hymn, “My Savior First of All” (aka, “I Shall Know Him”).

Rest well,
tu étais notre ami.
Katie Stefaniak Prior
Jul 12, 2019
Such a dear treasure to all those she met! She was a beloved teacher, artist and friend!
Janice Van Derbur
Jul 12, 2019
Fly high, dear teacher and mentor...we’ll all see you again. ❤️

Lisa Trow
Jul 12, 2019
My condolences to my friend Dr. Tom Cole for the loss of his wonderful, brilliant and talented sister. I didn't know Jan very well but she was beloved in my circle of friends and their love for her says everything. I'm sending my love and prayers.
Darryl Richards
Jul 12, 2019
To my beloved teacher and friend I was sad to hear this. Thank you for sharing your amazing gift and inspiring me as a flutist. I know you are playing in heaven. REST IN PEACE MY DEAR TEACHER AND FRIEND.
Kim Davis
Jul 12, 2019
Enchanted Cottage was purchased for the family of Jan Carroll Cole by Kim Davis.  Send flowers
Marjean Creager
Jul 12, 2019
Jan was special friend to my mom, and visited her regularly when Mom was no longer mobile. She brought her sweet smile, her music and her giggle. It meant so much to Mom.
A dear giving soul. We will miss you, Jan. Your gifts remain with us.
Doris Carol Rea Kirk
Jul 11, 2019
Beautiful in Blue was purchased for the family of Jan Carroll Cole by Doris Carol Rea Kirk.  Send flowers
Barbara Sloan
Jul 11, 2019
Most people shared a musical interest with Jan. I shared a love of tuxedo cats. I was shocked to read that her cat died the same day she did. But maybe that's best because they will both be in heaven together.
Zaidee Winton
Jul 11, 2019
Beautiful in Blue was purchased for the family of Jan Carroll Cole by Zaidee Winton.  Send flowers
Linda Ruff
Jul 11, 2019
I'll miss you Jan. Thank you for the beautiful lessons you taught me about the flute, musicality and about life. I'll see you in heaven. Much love. Linda