Barbara Cole

May 8, 1932-February 16, 2023

Barbara Louise Shaw Cole, 90, a proud resident of Bainbridge Island, Washington for more than 60 years, died peacefully at home on Thursday, February 16, 2023.

Born May 8, 1932 in Seattle, Barbara was the eldest child of Ruth Afton Smith and Lewis Frazier Shaw. She was a 1951 graduate of Queen Anne High School and went on to earn a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington in 1956. She began working for the Shell Oil Company as an office assistant where she met her future husband, George Marion Cole, on the softball field. A lover of good ballgames and statistics, Barbara was the team’s official scorekeeper. The couple married at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on November 12, 1955.

Barbara and George settled on Bainbridge Island in 1961 where they raised their family of four children. Barbara was able to put her degree to good use and became a dedicated bookkeeper and business manager of many iconic Bainbridge Island businesses including Village Foods, The Travel Exchange and That’s a Some Italian Pizza. She also was an early adopter of computer technology and worked for a number of years at the original Computer Sales of Bainbridge. For years, Barbara volunteered as a docent at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and was the longtime business manager at the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center where she worked until her retirement at age 80.

Her church family played an important role in Barbara’s life, and she was a congregation member at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and then joined Grace Episcopal Church as an early member. She will be interred at Grace next to her husband, George.

Barbara loved her home on Bainbridge Island but carried an extensive curiosity for travel, art, music and culture. She loved going to the opera, symphony, museums and shows. A devoted grandmother, she rarely missed performances, recitals or sporting events involving her eight grandchildren. One highlight was a weekend excursion to Victoria, BC on the Black Ball Ferry Line to celebrate each grandchild’s 8th birthday. Later in life she traveled extensively with members of the Senior Center, and deeply enjoyed cruises and jigsaw puzzles with her longtime friend, Bob Leik.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband George Marion Cole (1927–2008) and her eldest grandson Marshall Bamber (1982–2018). She is survived by her four children, Valerie Cole Kelley (Chris Kelley), Lauran Cole Warner (Eric Warner), Georgia Cole and Bryan Cole (Erin O’Hara), as well as seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to benefit Helpline House.