PULLMAN, Wash. — John D. Cole, a painting contractor in Auburn, was named 1998 Washington State University Dad of the Year. He was honored at the annual Dad’s Weekend Breakfast, Saturday, Oct. 31.
Cole was nominated by his daughter, Shea M. Cole, a WSU freshman who lives in Regents residence hall. In her letter of nomination, she wrote that she had been Cole’s stepdaughter since she was two years old. But she always felt something was missing.
“I wanted to be his real daughter, not his stepdaughter,” she said.
Last August, at age 18 and 15 years after she first met her stepfather, her dream came true. “My dad took me down to the Kent Courthouse and adopted me.”
She said, “I love my dad with my whole heart. I am so honored to have his last name.”
Cole never had an opportunity to go to college, but has been supportive of his daughter when she applied to WSU. “He researched every college in Washington and found WSU to be the best place for me to gain a top of the line education,” she said. “It feels so good to know how proud I’ve made my dad.”
Her father is working two jobs — one from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and the other from 2 p.m.-11 p.m. — to help put her through college. He also takes time off from work to attend any activities she or her brother are involved in. By example, Shea says that her father has shown her that hard work and dedication will always pay off in the end.
Cole has been supportive of WSU football and basketball programs at WSU, as well as intramural sports. He also believes strongly in community services and is involved with Habitat for Humanity, helping build a home for low income families, and collects and delivers clothing for the Christmas in April project.
A total of 14 dads were nominated for the award. The four other finalists were Raymond E. Almond, Newport; Daniel Baasch, Valleyford; Henry L. Blackwell, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Wayne F. Walther, Spokane.

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