Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

205 East Middle Street, Williamston, MI


Richard A. Cole

October 9, 1939June 9, 2020

Richard A. Cole, age 80, lifetime resident of Williamston, died under the loving care of his family on June 9, 2020. He was born on October 9, 1939 in Williamston, MI to Fred and Margaret (Gorsline) Cole. Dick earned his Eagle Scout Award and carried the scouting attributes of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent throughout all of his life. Richard was a graduate of Williamston High School in 1957 and was proud of the Williamston school heritage before and after him. He was the fourth of seven continuous generations to attend the Williamston Schools. It was at Williamston High School where he fell in love as a sophomore with Barbara Booker. Dick attended Central Michigan University and then graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1960. He then married his high school sweetheart, Barb, on July 29, 1961 and together they embarked on careers in the funeral profession, he as a director, and she as a funeral director’s wife. They spent two years in Iron River before returning to Williamston. While balancing those roles of director and director’s wife, they were blessed with two daughters, Pam in 1962 and Robin in 1964. They shared the title of “Daddy’s Girls” all their lives. Dick served the Williamston community as a funeral director at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes in Williamston for over thirty-eight years. He compassionately met with and cared for hundreds of families during some of their darkest days. Dick retired from the funeral home in 2000. He was an integral part of the Williamston community and was a charter member of the Williamston Lions Club and was awarded the Lions Club Citizen of the Year. He and Barb were members of the Family Life Church. As much as Dick enjoyed being a husband, father, and funeral professional, they paled in comparison of the love he had when he was promoted to PAPA. His happiest times were watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren participate in sporting and other activities. He was the cool grandfather that all the teammates called “Papa Cole” and he and Barb supported all of their efforts travelling around to watch. He is survived by his loving wife of over 59 years – Barbara Cole; their daughters and sons-in-law – Pam and Ron VanSickler and Robin and Dana Monette; grandchildren – Brad (Jennifer) VanSickler, Ryan (Ashlei) VanSickler, Lauren (Tyler) Bengel, Cassie (Nicholas) Cook, Natalie (Adam Stebbins) Monette, Jayme (Chris) Armour, and Dylan (Mariah McCoy ) Monette; great-grandchildren – Hunter, Nolan, Haiden, Blakely, Delaney, Joseph, Wyatt, Jace, Izzabella, Audrey, Rhett, Sophie, and Addie; brother – Jim (Camilla) Cole; brother-in-law Phil (Martha) Purdy; and so many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Barbara Purdy. A memorial service celebrating Dick's wonderful life will be held at Family Life Wesleyan Church, Williamston on Friday, June 12th 2020 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church.


  • Family Life Wesleyan Church


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, June 12, 2020


Richard A. Cole

have a memory or condolence to add?

Hunter VanSickler

June 19, 2020

I love you papa rest easy

Deborah Schultz

June 12, 2020

Remembering the many sporting events with the Williamston High School class of 2011 with Dylan Monette and that great athletic group of kids! I don’t think Papa and Nana missed one of those thrillers in Football, Basketball or Baseball. Great people, great family!🙏🏻❤️

lorri miiler

June 11, 2020

Barb and family, I am so sorry for your loss, I have known Dick all my life. When I worked at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery with my dad, Dick Miller and then when I came over to Mt. Hope Monument. Dick sold granite for our company so he would stop in for supplies or just to chat. I sure miss those days and all the updates on the grandkids and especially when they were playing baseball. He was so caring in assisting his families with their funeral needs and helping them design a beautiful tribute with their monuments and markers. He will be deeply missed by all. Heaven has gained another angel.

Donn Stowe

June 10, 2020

We share in your loss. You all have our deepest sympathy.
-Dianne & Donn Stowe and Family.

Elaine Stanfield

June 10, 2020

Dear Barb, Pam, Robin and all the beautiful "Coles",

You have been part of my life memories in Williamston since the early 1960's. I can't imagine that Dick is gone now....and I can't imagine Barb and Dick will not be "hand in hand" together where ever they went. John and I had so many fun times with you. We were blessed by your lifelong friendship. The really hard part of someone passing on is that it is so permanent (for now). I know how difficult it will be to go on without him. But the memories (and photos) of good times do help. Love always. Elaine Stanfield

Andrea “ Andi” Stocks

June 9, 2020

Working with Barb in the ‘70s offered me the opportunity to enjoy socializing with Barb and Dick and to know young Pam and Robin. The memories are dear to me. A truly lovely family. The love and humor shared between Dick and Barb was always present and wonderful to experience
My heartfelt condolences to Barb and the family

Bill and Monica Troshak

June 9, 2020

Heaven truly gained a loyal angel with Mr. Cole’s passing. We are sending thoughts and prayers to Barb, Pam, Robin and your families. Dick will truly be missed, he was an amazing man. Hold on to those many memories to help you through this difficult time!

Lori Hamilla

June 9, 2020

We are so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. We will always be thankful for his welcoming smile when we arrived to watch a game of one of the kids, attend a party, or when we stopped to visit. You are in our thoughts. Frank, Lori, Madison, and Molly Hamilla.

Kathy Dimoff

June 9, 2020

Dick was a 2nd Papa to our Eric. A friend to all of us, a part of our family. Thank you to our extended Cole/Vansickler family for all of the wonderful baseball memories. Thank you Dick for being such an example to our Eric and all of the baseball players Rest in peace sweet man , and thank you. ❤️

Claude Leblanc

June 9, 2020

Such Wonderful, Heart-Warming memories with Dick at various sporting events across the Midwest! And our hunting trip to Tennessee with Dick & his two oldest grandsons. I will deeply treasure our time together. To Barb, Pam, Robin, & your entire family; May your rich, warm memories With Richard keep your heart warm. God Bless You All-
Deborah & Claude Leblanc