Taylor W. Cole ’45

Taylor W. Cole ’45 died on June 13, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(The following appeared in The Philadephia Inquirer, June 25, 2015):

(January 17, 1923–June 13, 2015)

Taylor W. Cole, 92, of Chestnut Hill, a pioneer in high school computer instruction as well as a sailor and a father of nine, died Saturday, June 13, of Alzheimer’s disease at Arbor Terrace at Chestnut Hill.

Mr. Cole taught mathematics and computer science at Episcopal Academy from 1967 to 1987, when the school, now in Newtown Square, was in Merion. He was known for his ability to engage and support all students, particularly those who had little confidence in their math skills.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, long before the advent of the personal computer, Mr. Cole taught computer programming by means of a dial-up terminal connected to a mainframe computer elsewhere. The pupils worked on paper tape similar to a teletape, his family said.

Among his last students was James “Bruiser” Flint, head basketball coach at Drexel University.

Mr. Cole also was a junior varsity baseball coach, a summer camp counselor, and a performer with the Episcopal Academy drama club.

“He was the faculty member who had the gumption to appear onstage with the kids,” said his daughter Caroline Cole. “He was a ham.”

Born in Nashville, he was the son of Army Col. Philip P. and Frances Taylor Cole. He grew up in Washington and, later, Bryn Mawr. He graduated from the Haverford School in 1941. While at Haverford, he was coxswain of the varsity crew that won an Inter-Academic League championship in 1941.

Mr. Cole enrolled at Bowdoin College as a member of the Class of 1945, but did not graduate until 1948 because his studies were interrupted by military service. He received a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1951.

During the war, he served in the Army Air Forces in England, training fighter pilots.

His first job was a teaching post in Moorestown.

Before joining the faculty at Episcopal, he taught math for 16 years at the Harvard School in North Hollywood, Calif., where he had in class the sons of the performers Jonathan Winters, Donna Reed, and Fred MacMurray.

He and his family lived in Strafford. He was a past commander of American Legion Post 355, Bala Cynwyd, and a longtime chairman of the troop committee of Troop Paoli 1 of the Boy Scouts of America. Four of his sons became Eagle Scouts.

In retirement, he moved to Nashua, N.H., and turned his teaching experience into a brief political career – he successfully ran for the local school board in 1997 and served for almost four years.

An avid sailor in his youth, he won the Governor’s Cup in the G22 Under-16 Nationals. A self-taught carpenter, he enjoyed building furniture for his family as well as a small sailing dinghy.

He was married to Mary Ann Muth Cole. Early in his marriage he learned to sew, making mother-daughter dresses for his wife and four daughters every Easter. He taught his daughters to sew.

Besides his wife of 64 years and daughter, he is survived by daughters Cynthia Col, Charlotte, and Suzanne; sons Christopher, Clement, Carleton, Clifford, and Curtis; 14 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a sister.