He was in El Paso, Texas, on his annual Rio Grande duck-hunting that he cherished with his brother Jeff and son Andrew.
Steve was born on May 8, 1952 in Minden, Louisiana.
He often shared his fond memories of his childhood there – where his lifelong love of the great outdoors first began – enjoying adventures with his sisters, brothers and cousins.
When Steve was 15, he and his family moved to Longview, Texas.
He continued to excel in sports throughout high school, playing football, baseball and basketball.
After graduating from Longview High School in 1970, Steve continued his love of football, playing one season at Kilgore College.
In 1971, he was honored to receive his congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
It was there that Steve’s dream of becoming an aviator was put into motion.
During his time at Annapolis, he studied engineering, played football and forged enduring bonds with his fellow midshipmen. They have provided him with a lifetime of brotherhood and camaraderie that he treasured.
Steve proudly graduated with the Class of 1975.
Upon completion of flight school, Steve embarked on his career as a Naval aviator, serving actively for more than 11 years.
This would include three deployments around the globe and serving as an instructor at Miramar in San Diego, California.
He flew the E-2 Hawkeye until he retired from active duty in 1986.
Steve continued his Naval career through the reserves and retired as a 20-year Commander.
Along the way he also became the father to three beautiful and dearly loved children – Stephen Jr., Andrew and Sara.
In March of 1987, Steve began his commercial aviation career with Piedmont Airlines in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a loyal Boeing Man and loved flying the 737-200, 737-300/400, 757-200 and 767-200.
He flew across the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and South America. He completed 30 years of service and officially retired as an American Airlines First Officer on May 8, 2017.
Steve made many good friends throughout his long career.
He met and fell in love with his beloved Carol in July of 1991 and instantly bonded with his “plus” children, Brad and Jennie. Steve and Carol married on April 22, 1995. They blended their five amazing children and created the family together they love so dearly.
Their memories are many and they cherished their years together.
In 2012, Steve and Carol were blessed with the first of their eight grandchildren.
Steve was a wonderful husband, father and Poppaw.
His family brought him great joy, pride, laughter and comfort. Throughout his life, the bond with his children, parents, brothers and sisters filled his life with love, laughter, and countless happy memories.
Steve was a man of deep faith and an active member of Blair Road UMC in Mint Hill, NC. He loved his church family and was active in many areas.
He participated in a men’s study group, taught Senior High Sunday school, worked on a building team, ran the sound board for worship services and treasured his Sunday school classmates.
His passion for service also led him to mission work outside of the Church.
That included the Appalachia Service Project and building assignments at an orphanage in Haiti. He was always blessed on these trips and cherished those memories.
Steve was a man of great character, great spirit and great heart.
He was loved by so many and he will be missed beyond measure.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Carol Elaine Cole, his five children: Stephen Cole Jr., Andrew Cole, Sara Cole-Lee, Brad Broders, Jennie Broders-Jarrett and their families.
He is also survived by his father Stephen P. Cole and siblings, Debbie Roberson, Libby Teigen, Scott Cole, Jeff Cole and their families. He is preceded in death by his beautiful mother Marjie “Babe” Cole.
Steve’s Celebration of Life service will be Saturday, January 20th at 11:11 a.m. at Blair Road UMC, 9135 Blair Road, Mint Hill, NC 28227.
Interment will be a private service at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Blair Road Missions, including the Haiti mission team, Appalachia Service Project, the Blair Road Repair Team and Levine Cancer Institute.
Arrangements under the direction of McEwen Funeral Service, Mint Hill Chapel, Mint Hill, North Carolina.
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