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.
Published on July 11, 2019

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