James S. Cole, 81


James S. Cole passed away on Feb. 5, 2019 in Gainesville, Fla. after a brief illness, with family by his side. 

James S. Cole

He was 81 years old. He was the beloved husband of Nancy Upton for 23 years. They resided in New Canaan until 2017, when they relocated to Fairfield. 

Jim was born in Baltimore on Feb. 28, 1937, and lived in various states before his family settled in Illinois. In 1959 Jim received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois, and began his career in finance. Starting with General Electric in their audit program, he worked in various divisions in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut for more than 20 years. He then worked at Philips NA as vice president and Controller for 8 years, before joining Morgan Stanley, where he was Director of Finance in the Private Equity Group.

When Jim moved to New Canaan in 1994, he became a member of the Congregational Church. Over time, he served on the Board of Deacons, Pastoral Care Leadership, Stephen Ministries, and Men’s Fellowship. He will be fondly remembered as a greeter on the front steps of the church. 

Following retirement, Jim began a long career in public service. He started as a member of the New Canaan Republican Town Committee. He held positions as Chairman of the New Canaan Fire Commission, New Canaan Emergency Management Director, and Chairman of the New Canaan Police Commission. As Emergency Management Director, he was involved in many initiatives at the regional level. He was a founding member of the New Canaan Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and was on their Board of Directors for many years. He was an Associate Member of the New Canaan Fire Company No. 1 since 2001.

Civic organizations that he belonged to included Rotary International and the Exchange Club. He served on the local board of the American Red Cross, followed by service on the CT State board. More recently he was on the board of Staying Put in New Canaan. In 2013 he was honored as the Fall Guy at the Gridiron Club’s Annual Roast. 

Jim was a longtime member of Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton. Although golf was a sport Jim really enjoyed, more importantly were the friendships he developed with his golfing buddies. He was also a member of the Union League Club in New York City and Quail Ridge Country Club in Boynton Beach, Fla. 

Jim was previously married to Harriet O. Cole, who predeceased him. He is survived by their three children: Karen Huttlinger (John) of Lake Placid, NY; Elizabeth Mihalka of Livermore, CA; William Cole of Palm Beach Shores, FL; and three grandchildren: John Huttlinger III, Kenneth Mihalka, and Seamus Cole. Jim was predeceased by his sister Billie Lou Silverton.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on March 23, 2019 at the Congregation Church of New Canaan. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the charity of your choice.

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