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In Memorium: Norman "Roger" Cole

February 15, 2019 1:19 PM | David Eddy (Administrator)

Longtime member Roger Cole passed peacefully on Friday January 11, 2019 in his 82nd year after a short illness. Reunited with his beloved wife Jean Cole (nee Roberts). Lovingly remembered by his daughter Wendy (Jeff), his son David (Debbie), his daughter Heather, and his son Brian (Shelly). Much adored "Grandpa" of Andrew, Brendan, Sarah, Mackenzie, Jessica, Matthew and Nickolas. Funeral Service were held on Wednesday, January 16th. Donations to The Scott Mission or Covenant House would be appreciated by the family.

Roger, as he was known to all in the NRG, joined the NRG in 1976 and during his 43 years of membership he wrote numerous articles for the Nautical Research Journal and spoke at many Guild conferences and symposiums.

I first became aware of Roger through his writing for Model Ship Builder magazine and Ships in Scale magazine when he was a regular contributor to both magazines. Roger wrote a 14-part series in Model Ship Builder on building the Lizzie J. Cox a Chesapeake Bay Bugeye that concluded in the N/D 1988 issue. Roger authored approximately eighty-five articles in the Nautical Research Journal, Model Shipbuilder Magazine, Ships in Scale Magazine and others.

Roger and Jean were a sort of unofficial welcoming team who sought out NRG members attending their first conference, which was easy to do – look for the startled deer look in the newbies eyes when exposed to their first NRG conference. Roger and Jean would “adopt” the newbie and take them around making introductions and making them feel at home and accepted. This was repeated conference after conference and the friendships made at previous conferences were brought up to date. Those who were “adoptees” in most cases became their life-long friends. We know of many who tell their story about being “adopted” by Roger and Jean. Three who were “adopted” went on to become NRG Directors. Bill Maxwell, Mitch Michelson and Kurt Van Dahm are the referenced three but there were many others fortunate enough to have experienced the team of Roger and Jean “adopting” them and making their introduction to the NRG so memorable.

Roger’s modeling skills were world class. He is a featured model builder in the on-line Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA established by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship (Sherline’s founder). https://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/Cole.htm

As a member of the Nautical Research Guild's Technical Assistance Network (TAN) Roger answered many questions for the Guild. He also answered questions for individuals that far outnumbered the TAN replies. Many NRG members have related that asking a question of Roger led to a long-time personal relationship. Freely offering his expertise, Roger spoke at NRG Conferences in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2005 and 2010.

Roger’s health kept him from attending conferences after 2010 but he was always willing to share his knowledge with others. Several times he assisted us in providing information an NRG member needed. I could always call Roger and explain the problem and he would invariably say “give him my phone number, I will be glad to help”. He was a tremendous asset to the Guild, a good friend to me and many other NRG members and he will be missed.

The following is a listing of articles Roger wrote in the Journal:

  • NRJ Vol 23 - Shop notes on planking vise
  • NRJ Vol 23 - Shop notes on chart on scale conversion
  • NRJ Vol 23 - Shop notes on table of decimal equivalents
  • NRJ Vol 24 - Shop notes on Turning Square Stock in a Three-Jaw Chuck
  • NRJ Vol 24 - Shop notes on Wood for the Model Builder
  • NRJ Vol 26 - Model: BENJAMIN W. LATHAM
  • NRJ Vol 43 Despite All Odds: Flower-Class Corvettes and Temptress-Class Gunboats 
  • NRJ Vol 44 - Clenched-Lap Planking over a Framed Hull: Building the Naval Cutter Alert
  • NRJ Vol 44 - Despite All Odds: Flower-Class Corvettes and Temptress-Class Gunboats
  • NRJ Vol 45 - Proportions and Sizes of Blocks


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