Transportation 20

Richard Varese Cole

February 1, 1958 ~ March 28, 2022 (age 64)


Rick Cole, one of the best men I have ever known, lost his battle with cancer yesterday, March 28, 2022, six days before our one year wedding anniversary. Rick's life ended tragically and much too soon after he fought a brief and heroic battle with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. He was a warrior in every sense of the word, and kept fighting every minute, even when cancer wanted to kick his ass.

Richard Varese Cole was born in East Lansing, Michigan in 1958. He grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey, and graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Criminal Science. He was diagnosed with cancer in December, 2021 and began aggressive treatments on December 29, 2021. He never stopped working, even when his treatments became daily. He loved his work family at Muscogee Creek Nation/River Spirit Casino, where he was the Director of Risk Management. Rick had many friends throughout the country, especially in the Tulsa, Oklahoma and Traverse City, Michigan area. He will be deeply missed.

Rick was a true gentleman, but also something of a badass; you knew it when you talked to him. He was the most honest person I've ever known. I used to jokingly call him Mr. Law and Order, but he had a rebellious side. The Harley-riding side with sexy sleeve tattoos and an incredible back piece. Rick took me on my first Harley ride and held my hand when I got my first tattoo. During our years together, we loved riding in the mountains and also riding with our many friends in the Route 66 Harley Owners' Group (HOG). We had adventures Jeeping in the mountains in Colorado, and RVing with our traveling buddies. Life with Rick was always an adventure, no matter what we were doing.

He was the man of my dreams. Rick cherished me and made me feel like his queen. He was the strongest person I've ever known, with a steely determination to power through chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and daily radiation. He left the world peacefully, with those he loved most—even our pooch, Khaleesi—close to him, next to the window overlooking the field behind our home. His daughter, Melissa Cole and her husband, Tim Lane, were able to be by his side with me, and his son, Kevin, was with us in spirit. My heart is broken into a million pieces. He touched many lives and was loved by many.

Just moments ago, while I was writing about Rick's fighting spirit, a fighter jet from the Air National Guard just scorched the sky above me. I stopped and walked onto the patio of the dream house we built together and looked up at the sky. As I squinted into the sunlight, I could feel Rick's fighting spirit showing up at the exact moment I was composing my thoughts about him. Reminding me what a fighter he was to the very last second. Rick Cole was the best man I knew, and the world will not be the same without him.

Plans for a memorial service have not been set yet and will be shared when things settle down.

- Lisa Cole




Celebration of Life
April 29, 2022

11:00 AM
River Spirit Casino
Ballroom 2
Tulsa, OK 74137

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