Life’s challenges did not diminish positive spirit |

Life’s challenges did not diminish positive spirit

Ron Cole, 42, resident of Grass Valley, passed away on Sunday, March 19, at home.

An inveterate optimist, he strove to live life to the fullest despite being diagnosed with degenerative multiple sclerosis in 1997.

Five years later, when he needed assistance in gaining mobility, the western Nevada County community raised money to help Cole buy a wheelchair lift-equipped Dodge Caravan.

Today, people who knew and loved him remember his inspiring life with fondness.

He was a licensed massage therapist and volunteered with the AIDS Project in Grass Valley. A member of the local Multiple Sclerosis Support Group, he also attended Adult Day Services on a regular basis and participated in counseling his peers.

Helen Turner met Cole and his wife, Dianne, at a Multiple Sclerosis support group meeting in 2001. She spearheaded the fundraising effort for Cole the following year.

“He was the best example for anybody that has challenges,” Turner said. “He never used to complain. He would lean back on his wheelchair and put up his skinny arm and say, ‘This is the best part of my life.’ In our meetings, he would teach us relaxation and breathing technique exercises to let us all feel peaceful.”

Penn Valley resident Hope Maloney was also a part of Cole’s support group.

“He was the most positive man I’ve ever known,” she said. “He was a very spiritual person and was a very happy and peaceful man. He had a very calming effect on people. He spoke softly and slowly. He made people think about breathing in the good air and letting go of all the problems … just a very sweet man.

“Out of everyone I’ve ever known, he got the most joy every second of his life.”

Rose Cole, Ron’s mother, was thankful to the community for its support, especially toward the final phase of her son’s life.

She expressed her gratitude to the Twin Cities Church and Pastor David Carothers. She also thanked Adult Day Services, which Ron frequented, and his doctor.

“He wanted to be remembered as a ‘kind, honorable man with dignity,'” she said. “He wanted to be a part of the universe for much longer.”

To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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