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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012
We knew this day was coming. Years ago when we began to lose some great Christian leaders my wife said, “What will we do when we lose Don Cole?”

I guess we find out now. What will we do in a world without C. Donald Cole?

First, we give thanks.

Thanks be to God for his gift. Thank you for giving us a man so completely devoted to following Jesus. For his kind, generous heart and his wisdom and that calming, soothing voice.

Second, we ask God to comfort those who loved him and hold them close and give them peace in this storm.

Third, we ask God to make us men and women worthy of knowing him. We ask him not just to comfort, but also to conform us more and more to the image of Christ that we saw in Don Cole.

That was something Don would have said in devotions. He would have said it slowly, deliberately, and by taking off his glasses and putting them into his shirt pocket. He would open the Bible and pull out his glasses again and read a few verses and speak truth. Simple. Clear. To the heart.

Don Cole was not just a voice on the radio to me. He was a real human being with opinions, struggles, and a huge heart for those on the outside of the fold. He also cared about the forgotten inside the fold. What you heard on the radio was what you got in his office or at a Cubs game or over coffee.

Don Cole was a real man. And he showed us that real men could love God and the Bible. He wasn’t a wimp. And he showed us how real men loved their wives, not lording over them, but sacrificing for them. And he laughed. Oh, how he loved to laugh.

Don Cole was the real deal. He knew when to speak his mind, when to gently correct, when to stand up to a bully, and when to listen. His mouth was filled with choice words he used not to win arguments or stump people with his encyclopedic knowledge, but to lead each person closer to the truth, closer to the heart of God.

I’ve met many great Christians over the years. Famous authors, politicians, preachers, power brokers, thinkers, theologians, sports figures, crusaders, and experts. None of them compares with Don Cole. They don’t even come close.

Why? Partly because he was one of a kind. Partly because of the varied experiences he’d had and his ability to use his intellect and spiritual acumen to create a perspective on the news few could render. Partly because of his amazing ability to meld knowledge with passion for people.

But mostly this: the other thinkers and theologians and preachers didn’t walk with us. They came and went. He was there, committed, no matter what. I’m sure he could have moved to a much higher position, could have been president of some Bible college, or something else. He stayed with us. And he considered what he had been called to do the most important thing. For him to do anything else than teaching God’s Word, anything, would have been a step down.

He came to the table with a Bible in one hand and the other outstretched to you. He got down in the trenches, in the muck and mire of life, and walked side by side. The only agenda Don Cole ever had was love.

I grieve for the loss of Don Cole. I grieve for Naomi and the family. I grieve for those too young to hear him and benefit from his wisdom. But mostly I grieve for myself and what I know I have lost and for what I know I’ve gained from having known Don Cole. And for having called him a friend.

I can hear his voice, and I will hear it again one day. He would laugh at the tributes, chuckle and shake his head. And put his glasses away.

Thanks be to God for Don Cole. Comfort those who loved him and make us worthy of knowing him. In the name of Christ, Amen.

28 comments:

R Burow said...

Everything you said about him was true. Pastor Cole was a real man- a humble spirit. I agree with your prayer- May I be 'worthy of knowing him.'

Thank you for this tribute Chris. With a heavy heart I will pray that God will bring comfort to you, in a world without C. Donald Cole. May He comfort us all.

Anonymous said...

I too shall miss this mighty and humble man. He was winsome and gentle and I loved hearing his grace over the car radio! I loved the dignity offered to the child's question, the truths of God's word explained from the perspective of one intimately acquainted with Whom he spoke about. I never met Don, this brother, this father I loved. I intend to look him up though, one day, when I am in heaven. I"ll introduce myself and we will talk about Jesus.

Tim said...

Very beautiful tribute my friend! Pastor Cole will be missed.

Larry S said...

I got to know Don when I started working at Moody Radio in 1977. He was 35 years older than I, but I had to hustle to keep up with him on the 1-mile walk from the train station to MBI. He was always kind, wise, and good-humored, and I will never forget how he stood by me during one of the most difficult times of my life.

NTMcMillan said...

You summed him up wonderfully. Thank you for writing such a descriptive reminder of our friend, especially his laugh. I'll miss his laugh.
Trish

Anonymous said...

I too met Pastor Cole in 1988 when I joined the staff at MBI. I had the pleasure to room with him on a Managment retreat where we had some very great talks. He was a soft spoken man that always had a brief case full of magazines. He was probably one of the most well read people I have ever met! Don until we meet again. Thanks! Glenn S

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chris, for this beautiful tribute! I had the privilege of being a child listening to him preach at Lombard Chapel....looking forward to his messages! Then I had the privilege of having him marry my husband and I in '93! He was such a gift to those who knew him! Can't wait to challenge him to raquetball in heaven!

Kelly, Ohio said...

I listened to Pastor Cole on Moody for years. I miss his voice, his wisdom, his love. I will see him in glory!

Anonymous said...

After leaving Moody in 1991 I was frequently asked, what do you miss most about Moody and Chicago? My reply almost always was, “Only two things…I miss Don Cole as a person and his weekly Bible studies in Studio B for broadcasting staff. And, I missed Chicago deep dish pizza!” I told that to Don when I had the privilege of meeting with him and Naomi last May. We both had a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

I will miss hearing his voice. He gave sound, Biblical teaching. My sincere condolences to to the family of Pastor Donald Cole and staff of Moody Radio Network.

Sherron said...

In a dark moment in my life, I turned on the radio and Brother Don Cole was on, who I had never heard before. A peace came over my soul when Brother Cole spoke on the Bible and I knew that this man was a real man of God. Thanks Chris for speaking for the rest of us who learned to love him through the radio.

Anonymous said...

When I first came to know Christ, Pastor Cole was one of the first Evangelists that encouraged me over the years. I would listen to him on Moody,and I met him and Naomi when I was hospitalized years ago. They took time out of their busy schedule and prayed for me. What a true reflection of Jesus' love! / I will miss you, Pastor Cole and I am rejoicing for you!

Charley and Bea Hicks said...

We first met Don in 1972 when he came to a pastors' conference in Chattanooga, Tn. I am not a pastor but I "sneaked"in and sat on the back row.I was amazed at his Bible wisdom and my desire was that some of that would rub off on my wife, Bea, and me. Every year when he came back for share on WMBW we would spend some time with him and he stayed in our house many times. If we could have him in our house we felt we would have the advantage of learning from him.When I think of Don I think of 2Peter3:18 He helped us to grow. I have the Bible in my hand he gave us and he wrote "on the occasion of our friendship" March, 21, 2005, lst John 4:14 "we have seen that the Father has sent the son to be the Saviour of the world" and that was always his message. We are awaiting "the rapture" so we can be in his presence again. Charley and Bea Hicks

Scott said...

I am one of many who would call him friend though he never knew me. I learned much from his plain and straight teaching from God's work. A friend and teacher indeed!

Jarm Del Boccio said...

An honorable tribute to a God-honoring man. Many souls have been touched by his Biblical teaching. May the Lord raise up more men like Don Cole to carry the torch to the next generation.

Ivy lomotey said...

I will miss hearing your voice and the wisdom that you share through the radio. Thank you for your faithfulness to God's calling upon your life. I've gain so much from listening to you. May the Lord comfort your family during this difficult time.

Ivy lomotey said...

I will miss hearing your voice and the wisdom that you share through the radio. Thank you for your faithfulness to God's calling upon your life. I've gain so much from listening to you. May the Lord comfort your family during this difficult time.

Cheryl Butler said...

There are no words to adequately express the appreciation for and blessings received from Pastor Don Cole's ministry. He touched us all positively and indelibly for the cause of Christ. What a humble, mighty man of God! What a privilege to have been a recipient of the grace of God through this vessel.

Anne Alexander said...

As a new employee of the Dept of Broadcasting, I reveled in Pastor Cole's dry wit, thoughtful comments, & frustration when I refused to cross against the light on our walk from the train to MBI. His counsel & friendship & his & Mrs. Cole's prayer for me as a new (now old) missionary are treasures in my heart.

Lord, thank you for the blessings You've spread to so many through Your beloved son. May the example & truth he conveyed from You continue to bear fruit for generations. Amen!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Cole once reminded me that radio penetrates all barriers - and it does. So did Pastor Cole - as only he could! Perhaps we should add another book to the Bible and simply name it "Cole". I think God would agree!

Jess Koh Eckberg said...

I love my friend, Pastor Cole, and will miss him terribly. In 1987 he befriended me, a student from Singapore at MBI. We shared lunches then. Through the years, he loved me, cared for me, and welcomed me into his home. We took walks, laughed, I cried, laughed some more. Always gentle, encouraging,wise,down to earth, fun loving. He was like a father to me.

Carol Lee said...

I always loved hearing Pastor Cole on the radio and learned from his answers to callers. I also enjoyed hearing his program with his wife, Naomi, occasionally, and his radio commentaries. I thought of him as the Christian grandfather I never had, and I although I'm sad to know I'll no longer hear his voice, I'll look forward to meeting him one day. Thanks for your program, Chris. May God comfort his family, you and your family, and all who will miss him so much.

Anonymous said...

I heard him many times on the radio and was amazed with his knowledgeable and wise answers. They were well thought out and researched (typically quickly retrieved from his mind). Though that was amazing enough, what I was impressed with so, so much more was his compassion for the people he talked to on Open Line, regardless of age or situation, believer or not. I myself spoke to him over the radio only once. Off-line, he revealed something about the reason he had written one of his books that the editors did not want to emphasize. I noted it in my copy. Nothing dramatic - but it just showed me his wonderful transparency.

My wife went to a women's camp once where his wife Naomi spoke. I went to the camp to either see or pick-up my wife and to meet her. I met her with the Words "I love your husband!". It was kind of a goofy thing to say but it was true.

Finding out today that he has passed away is a sad day for me. Only two things about it are good. He is present with the Lord, suffering no more. And, reading through the obituary, I found that there are two of his books that I was unaware of - I hope they are still available.

May the Lord comfort Naomi and the children - and all who knew him.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Cole was a tremendous example to any and all who follow Christ. He was able to share without condemnation, speak truth in love, and let you know all along that he was a sinner just like you. While there will not be another, you follow in his footsteps well Chris. He for certain heard "well done, good and faithful servant". If you ever wanted to see Jesus with skin on, look at the life of Pastor Don Cole. Thanks for sharing your tribute with us.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Cole was a tremendous example to any and all who follow Christ. He was able to share without condemnation, speak truth in love, and let you know all along that he was a sinner just like you. While there will not be another, you follow in his footsteps well Chris. He for certain heard "well done, good and faithful servant". If you ever wanted to see Jesus with skin on, look at the life of Pastor Don Cole. Thanks for sharing your tribute with us.

Anonymous said...

Through the years, I have appreciated Don's down to earth and forthright explanations of Scripture. One of the traits I appreciated was his readiness to give his understanding of Scripture passages even if they differed from the usual "evangelical" cliche. He often stressed justice in human relations, as few evangelicals were willing to do. At the same time, he never shrank from declaring what the Bible teaches. Another gift he had was his ability to have at hand biblcal references for the many questions that came in. I shared the mic with him on several occasions,and I can tell you that he had no time to do research. God gave him the ability to reference Scripture and answer questions readily like no one I have ever known!
Mel Banks

Ann said...

Pastor Donald Cole gave many years of service to the King and by doing so brought lasting glory to His name. I have enjoyed listening to Open Line for years. My biggest memory is how Pastor Cole would open the program by reading a Psalm. I am grateful for a life of Christian service. Remembering the whole family in prayer.
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Jerry Frett said...

I was Don Cole's tax return preparer from 1993-2011 almost 20 years. We first met, at of all places, the IRS office which at the time was located in Lombard. I still remember that day. We struck up a conversation & I immediately felt as though I knew him my entire life. Don must have felt comfortable with me as he hired me that day to be his new tax preparer. Don wasn't the best organized with his financial affairs but that didn't bother me as much as it would with others. Rather, I eagerly looked forward to speaking with him come tax time every year. What a gentleman! I will miss him. Jerome P Frett, CPA